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Program Prioritization to cause changes on campus

For almost an entire year, Boise State has been looking at both academic and administrative programs more in-depth due to program prioritization.

In May of 2013, Idaho State Board of Education  (SBOE) announced that all four year universities must undergo a program prioritization. Every program will be looked at and rated on a rubric based on relevance, productivity, quality and efficiency.

Martin E. Schimpf, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, has been part of this project since it was first decided in May 2013.

“The idea is to score up the programs and put them into quintiles, the top quintiles would be the best practices and potentially could grow and expand with additional investment,” Schimpf said. “The bottom quintile would need substantive action to improve.”

According to Schimpf, the outcome of program prioritization could result in a change by merging some programs together if those particular programs are on the lower half of the rating scale.

“There has to be some sort of substantive action to improve the program, so we could combine it with another program, change the curriculum to make it more relevant or bring more students into that program,” Schimpf said.

Schimpf anticipates that the university will have some changes, not only to academics, but with everything they do.

“I can’t give you any specifics, but on the academic side we just received the quintiles and proposed action plans from the deans for those programs in the lowest quintile and we are just going through that right now,” Schimpf said.

The university is anticipating making big changes to different academic programs, such as creating a minor from a separate degree program so a student can major in one program and minor in another.

“In some cases, there is an overlapping in programs and instead of having programs in two separate departments, it might be better to take advantage of what each department is doing and maybe create an emphasis instead of full degree program,” Schimpf said.

Students should be expecting changes within all the programs. Michelle Malson, a junior communication major, has fears the potential changes in programs could cause complications with her chances of graduating in spring of 2014.

“I’m hoping that this won’t affect those of us who are already far in our studies,” Malson said. “I don’t know if this is going to affect the catalog that I’m on or if it will affect me at all.”

The lack of information adds to the stress of Malson and potentially other students planning on graduating in the upcoming years.

“I want to know more about this, how this is going to affect me. This is the first time I have heard about it,” Malson said.

The deadline for the final reports of Boise State’s program prioritization are due to SBOE by August of 2014. The university will be applying the suggested  changes to  programs that fall and will be continuing to implement the program prioritization techniques throughout the upcoming years.