Council set to prioritize potential program cuts


The Academic Planning Council has been given the role of judging programs and making program recommendations which could result in some death sentences.

The APC was asked by the NIU administration to review all programs cited by the IBHE’s Priorities, Quality, and Productivity initiative and NIU’s 1992 Productivity Report.

At its Monday meeting, the APC reviewed the final three programs cited by NIU’s productivity report as programs which could be eliminated or consolidated to meet the IBHE’s desire to streamline state universities.

Of the programs reviewed, only the College of Education’s educational doctorate in reading and the College of Engineering’s manufacturing emphasis in technology were offered by college officials as programs which could be eliminated or consolidated.

However, the College of Performing and Visual Arts asked that its Bachelor of Fine Arts in art be removed from NIU’s hit list of programs under consideration for elimination or consolidation.

Art Department Chair Richard Carp said the program, which was not targeted by the IBHE, should never have been included on NIU’s list.

“We were not targeted by the IBHE. We were simply saying (in the report) that we don’t need the IBHE to tell us about something we are already doing,” Carp said.

Carp’s request is similar to one made last semester by art professor and University Council member Gordon Dorn when NIU’s report first came out. At that time, NIU officials said the correction would be dealt with when it considered its next report.

The APC expressed uncertainty as to exactly what the administration expects of them and what the end result of the process would be.

The APC members also discussed how they would go about making recommendations in regard to the reviewed programs.

Richard Dowen, associate professor of finance, suggested the APC either prioritize or categorize the programs cited by the NIU and IBHE hit lists by level of importance, which they recommended NIU should retain.

NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody said he agreed with the idea of prioritizing programs.

“These are things (categorizing programs) which could keep you from actually voting yes or no to each program,” he said.

Moody said this sort of recommendation policy would alleviate the pressure put on the APC of hand-picking which programs they feel should be retained and which should not.

In addition, Dowen said, “I really would like to ensure the idea of this committee simply accepting program changes which have been consented to by their departments.”

The committee also discussed the criteria by which it would judge a program and agreed that program quality and enrollment should be taken into consideration.

“I do think it is perfectly within the preview of this committee to determine if a program is within the mission statement of this university,” Moody said.

“I think to sit here and simply to say that we define ourselves as a comprehensive training facility and we can continue to do what we are doing is a little unrealistic,” Moody said.

“I suspect if we just start looking at the programs on these lists, when we get down to it, different members of this committee will have different ways of looking at them,” Moody said. “I would hope we would agree now on how we are going to look at these programs.”

The APC recommended that it endorse the elimination of programs which have been consented to by their departments during their program review.

In addition, the APC recommended a guideline of categorizing by priority of importance for the programs whose fate is still being debated.