Prioritization teams request program information

By Heather Scroering

The second of the four-part, yearlong Blueprint Prioritization process is in motion, as of Oct. 28.

On Oct. 25, an email from the Academic and Support and Operations teams was sent out to faculty and staff members announcing the data collection segment of the process, in which every department and office on campus must complete informational forms, which were attached in the email, to be submitted to a chain of individuals who will review the forms.

“It is a comprehensive view of what we’re doing at the college as a whole,” said Suzanne Blum Malley, associate professor in the English Department and member of the Academic Team. “This is the kind of thing that, if done well, [will provide] the college with a huge amount of strategic underpinnings to move forward.”

According to Malley, the teams have created three Program Information Request forms, two developed by the Academic Team and one by the Support and Operations Team. The Academic Team provided forms for instructional departments, centers and non-degree programs, such as the library, Malley said.

The Support and Operations team distributed forms to other service departments on campus, such as Human Resources, according to Nancy Rampson, director of development in Institutional Advancement and member of the Support and Operations Team.

The PIR forms are tailored specifically to each department, program and office. The Academic Team is asking questions regarding the history of the programs, revenue information and impact of programs on the college.

The Support and Operations forms seek to identify objectives and goals, analyze positions and areas in which the department can collaborate, restructure and/or cut costs.

“The Program Information Requests provide opportunity for the people working in the programs or offices to reflect on what’s going on with their program or office,” Malley said.

The information will be used to rank programs that could share resources with other places on campus and programs that could function with fewer resources, according to Malley.

“We do this now, and we’re able to see down the road the kinds of things we should continue doing, and things we should look for … [if] it’s a place we want to build and possibly places that we say, ‘Wow, this isn’t working the way that we thought it would,’” Malley said.

The academic forms were sent to the chairs and center directors who shared the forms with faculty and staff in their programs, according to Malley. The filled-out forms will be sent to the dean, who will pass them to the provost. The Academic team will review the forms and make recommendations to President Warrick L. Carter, who will make his own suggestions, Malley said.

Rampson said there is designated staff in each office to complete the forms, which will be reviewed by department heads and the vice presidents. Similar to the Academic team, the Support and Operations team and Carter will review the questions.

While Pantelis Vassilakis, chair of the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department, sees the positive in the process, he believes there are some drawbacks.

“The prioritization process has the potential to be very beneficial, and the prioritization committee has done everything in its power toward this but [is] working within a problematic context,” Vassilakis said.

He expressed concern about the time constraints for completing the forms. The forms, which were released to the community on Oct. 25, are due to the dean or director of the program by Nov. 18.

“It’s unrealistic to expect something meaningful and representative of each program within the [24 days] that were given,” he said.

According to Vassilakis, the Audio Arts and Acoustics Department received some flawed data, which was given to the committees by the college.

“The data is often incomplete, inaccurate and difficult to interpret,” he said. “In addition, some of the formulas used to produce some of the data that was received have serious implementation flaws.”