EPC Program Review and Modification Procedures

Educational Policy Committee
Program Review and Modification Procedures

EPC Program Review – Adopted 3/26/07 and revised 2/14/11 by EPC

The demand for academic majors changes through time, and one would expect that the majors offered by the university would change accordingly. Naturally, with a specific allocation of resources, a fluctuating overall enrollment level, and minimum course sizes, there is a limited number of majors that can be offered at any one time.

In order to maintain both quality and viability in our programs, the Provost/VPAA has decided to institute ongoing procedures for program review based on several factors, including data on major enrollments, course enrollments, student performance, accreditation standards, and other related information that has been available for some time. The data sets are updated regularly, shared with all academic departments and are accessible on the university website. (See Institutional Research and Institutional Research-Enrollment Reports by Academic Program) To facilitate a clear process for dealing with program decline, the Provost/VPAA and the members of EPC have agreed to the following procedures to insure adequate administrative and faculty involvement in timely reviews of programs for which there may be concerns.

1. Annual Departmental Review:

Annually, academic departments conduct a department review as part of the development of staffing plans. This necessarily includes a data based review of department programs, courses and enrollment trends. In their review of their programs and courses, the faculty of a department can recommend the elimination of a major program through the normal review channels of CUP or GPC, the Academic Senate, and Provost/VPAA. They can also recommend suspending enrollment in a program. An enrollment suspension has the advantage of putting a major on hold and not terminating it while a department takes the time to review matters. If a program is terminated, a full review up through the state level would be required to start the major again. In effect, it would be treated as a completely new major which is not the case for a suspended major.

2. Annual EPC Staffing Recommendations:

During the first four weeks of the fall semester, the Deans submit their staffing recommendations to the Provost/VPAA. These are reviewed by EPC along with enrollment data for majors and courses. At that time, the Academic Deans shall also submit recommendations to the Provost/VPAA for program suspensions, which will also be reviewed by the EPC. Such recommendations should take into account but not be limited to evidence of certain warning signs such as:

  1. Differentiation from another major by only one or two courses;
  2. A declining trend in the enrollment of majors over successive years;
  3. Enrollment in required or elective courses falling below the minimum course requirements (20 for lower division; 10 for upper division) over successive offerings;
  4. Use of directed studies as substitutions for required courses for successive years;
  5. Inability to meet the standards or course rotations necessary to maintain quality, or meet the requirements for program accreditation;
  6. Evidence from the annual program review that the major is no longer meeting the expectations described for it in the initial approval or subsequent revisions of the program.

3. Deans will notify departments of programs for which they are submitting suspension recommendations to the Provost/VPAA and EPC including the reasons for these recommendations by September 30.

4. The department faculty shall meet to review all programs recommended for suspension and submit a response to the EPC by January 15th of the current academic year. The department response shall either:

  1. indicate acceptance of the suspension, or
  2. indicate the need to study the program more carefully before making changes or terminating the program, or
  3. provide data and narrative indicating why the recommended suspension would be ill advised.

Failure by the departmental faculty to respond by this date will be taken as tacit agreement to suspend the program. EPC will review recommendations from the Deans and responses from departments and make their recommendations to the Provost/VPAA by February 28.

5. A department can request reinstatement of a suspended program by submitting a data-based plan using the EPC reallocation criteria, that will result in a major/program with a sufficient rationale to justify offering the required courses using the resources available. The plan will be submitted by the department faculty, through the department head, and the college dean.

6. If the departmental faculty chooses to recommend termination of a program or substantive changes to maintain a program, they must also process such proposals through the normal academic oversight of CUP, GPC, the Senate and the Provost/VPAA as appropriate. Failure to process a termination proposal within 4 years of the suspension date will result in an automatic termination of the program.

7. A program suspended for any reason will automatically be terminated after 4 years from the suspension date.