Ranking, recommendations coming

By Heather Scroering

The deadline for the Blueprint Prioritization Program Information Requests, which every department and office on campus was required to submit to a chain of individuals for review, has come and gone. However, the college is wasting no time in beginning the ranking and recommendation process.

The PIR forms, which were due on Dec. 2, as previously reported by The Chronicle on Nov. 7, will directly correspond with the Blueprint Prioritization Program Information Rubric that will be used to evaluate responses to the PIR forms.

Evaluation will occur on three levels, according to Suzanne Blum Malley, associate professor in the English Department and member of the Academic team. Completed forms are sent to deans and associate vice presidents, who will review them and send them to the provost or vice president. After their reviews, the Support and Operations and Academic committees will make recommendations and pass them along to President Warrick L. Carter, who will make his own evaluations.

Because the PIR forms are extensive, the committees have come up with a strategy to review the forms, Malley said.

“It’s not going to be a reading through and scoring of the entire PIRs because it’s very difficult to maintain,” she said. “When you’re doing a big research and scoring process, [you’ve] got multiple people scoring. So you want what is called inter-rater reliability. You want to make sure that all of the people using the rubric are using it in a similar way.”

Training sessions with deans and the provost will be held on Dec. 12 and Dec. 19, according to Malley. She added that all responses to PIR forms will be made available to all faculty and staff members on IRIS by Dec. 6.

Because the rubrics are tailored to cover multiple criteria, some programs will score low in certain areas, Malley said. For example, programs that are more student-focused will score much higher in internal demand than in external demand.

“It’s not about the numbers,” Malley said. “The crux of this is really in the evaluation, judgment, decision-making and, more important than the ranking, the recommendations.”

Departments and programs will be specifically categorized according to rubric scores, Malley said. Categories include programs that need additional funding, programs that are functioning successfully as they are and need no additional funding or resources, programs that can collaborate with others, programs that can function with fewer resources and programs that can be phased out.

“We don’t want people to really over-concern themselves with the actual scores,” said Derrick Streater, training and development manager of Human Resources and member of the Support and Operations committee. “We want them to focus a little bit more on the content and how it’s going to be used to make


Though the original deadline for the PIR forms was on Nov. 18, Streater and Malley said the date change has not set the process back.

Listening forums are scheduled for the week of Jan. 9, 2012, according to Malley. The two- to three-hour meetings will give departments and programs, with the exception of those who are members of the prioritization teams, the opportunity to draw attention to points that may have been left out of PIR responses and respond to ranking decisions, according to the Blueprint Prioritization Process and Timeline Overview.

Malley said listening forums will be held for all levels of review.

Though Malley believes the process of filling out the PIR forms was arduous, she thinks they will generate positive outcome from departments and programs.

“Even though it’s been kind of onerous and unwieldy, having the programs complete the PIRS in [this] way provides information so that we can take advantage of things, [and] the programs themselves are allowed to say what [they are] already doing and what [they] see for the future,” Malley said. “Programs can say, ‘Wow, we’ve already started this kind of collaboration. This is something we’d like to build on.’ If we were just doing some kind of financial analysis of where things were, you would never get that picture.”