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THE REVIEW OF EXISTING INSTRUCTIONAL PROGRAMS
(Indiana Commission for Higher Education, 1/13/78)
The following are the results of public discussions concerning the statewide review of existing programs which took place at the October and December 1977 Commission meetings and numerous communications between the staff and institutional personnel.
Existing Instructional programs
- The institutions should assume the primary responsibility for the ongoing review of all existing programs.
- The institutions should review all programs on a six year periodic basis starting July 1, 1978.
- The Commission should be notified of the proposed schedule and the process adopted for the review and the results of the review activities on an annual basis.
- The Commission should assume the responsibility for specialized reviews of selected program areas.
- The Commission will report the results of the programs reviewed to the institutional administrators and trustees and incorporate the results in the budgetary recommendations submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly.
New Instructional Programs
- The Commission will annually monitor the development of newly approved programs.
- The Commission will review new programs after two graduating classes to assess the programs' performance in meeting their objectives.
- The Commission will report the results of the programs reviewed in a similar manner to those for existing instructional programs.
The primary responsibility for the systematic, ongoing review of all instructional programs should remain with the institutions. Institutional program review responsibilities typically focus on the degree of accomplishment of program objectives and the identification of areas of possible improvement. Evaluations of personnel, space, supporting equipment, curricular content and the interrelation among programs are elements of the internal program review process.
The Commission's program review responsibilities center on statewide concerns for the coordination of all higher educational services. The total educational services are more than the sum of the individual institution's efforts which are in a continuous state of flux. Institutionally initiated changes should be evaluated for the impact they would have on statewide planning and budgetary considerations.
The staff believes that the most appropriate program review approach for Indiana is for the institutions and the Commission to have clearly differentiated roles with the institutions retaining the primary responsibility for ongoing program review and the Commission incorporating their findings and the results of special studies by the Commission into the biennial budget recommendations. Emphasis should be placed on improving the linkages between the ongoing institutional program review activities and state level planning and budgeting activities. Flexibility must exist in statewide procedures to take into account the various review schedules imposed by external review agencies and by internal management needs.
Existing instructional Programs--The institutions should be requested to notify the Commission of the schedule for the review of all existing programs, the process adopted, and as they are known, the results and subsequent administrative actions. The Commission should initiate program reviews for selected subject areas which justify statewide policy concerns. The results of both of these reviews should be reported to the institutional administrators and trustees and included in the budgetary recommendations submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly.
The preliminary guidelines for the review of existing instructional programs would include the following:
- 1. The six universities and college would be requested to notify the Commission by June 30, 1978 of
- a. the schedule by which they would review all existing degree programs at least every 6 years (at an approximately even rate annually and with the appropriate groupings of program areas; and with greater frequency if appropriate for other external review agencies).
- b. the review process they intend to employ which should include the use of substantive external experts when appropriate and which would complement the accreditation and evaluation processes employed by outside agencies or groups.
- 2. By June 30th of each year beginning in 1979 the institutions would be requested to notify the Commission of
- a. the results of the program reviews completed that academic year, including a copy of any internally or externally generated reports, memoranda or other documentation of the program review and including information on resource use by program; and
- b. any administrative actions or board of trustee decisions in response to the program review findings.
- 3. From time to time the staff will recommend to the Commission special program review studies it believes should be conducted on a statewide basis. Criteria to be used by the staff in its recommendations will include, but will not be limited to: imbalances in skilled personnel supply and demand; student demand--program capacity; evolving institutional missions; available resources; program duplication, and geographical imbalances.
- 4. For the institutions to assume the primary responsibility for the conduct of the continuous review of all existing programs, their review process should incorporate those elements of value for statewide planning and budgeting purposes. While it is recognized that a considerable amount of data is collected during the institutional accreditation self-evaluation review activity on the campuses, probably only a portion of this information has value in a statewide context or is in a comparable form among the campuses. It is also recognized that external agency (e.g. accreditation) reviews should be closely coordinated with the Commission's involvement with program review. While these technical details need to be worked out with the institutions, a summary of the important considerations is in order at this time.
- a. Integrating statewide concerns into the institutional review process.
- 1. Who is being served?
- 2. Are students' needs being met?
- 3. Are employers' needs being met?
- 4. What is the quality of the program?
- 5. What are the resource requirements needed and from what sources are the needed resources available?
- 6. What changes will occur as a result of the review? Examples of changes would be plans to modify the enrollment in size (e.g., increase, decrease or limit the size), to provide new facilities, or to incorporate a cooperative educational experience with an off-campus employer.
- b. Integrating information requirements to assess statewide concerns with the institutional review procedures. To assess the statewide concerns, information would be required in such areas as demographic characteristics of students, student placement, student retention, past and projected financial support requirements.
- c. Relating the Commission's needs to the needs of external review agencies.
- 1. State Board of Vocational Education (SBVTE) The SBVTE is required by federal statute to review all vocational programs in a five year period. The Commission would coordinate its efforts with the SBVTE to eliminate unnecessary duplication of institutional effort. The Commission would make an effort to insure that the SBVTE program review process would meet the needs of both agencies.
- 2. Accrediting Agencies
- The program review conducted by external agencies will meet many of the statewide objectives for program review. The institutions should supplement these analyses when necessary to fulfill the statewide requirements.
- A possible way of making these accreditation reviews more beneficial to the state would be for the Commission staff to be a party in the review process, e.g. in the final interview of the accreditation team.
New Programs--The staff should monitor new programs during the implementation phase and conduct a review after two graduating classes. All new programs meeting their original objectives at that time will be considered existing programs and reviewed by the process described above. New programs not meeting their objectives may be recommended to be phased out or continued for an additional trial time period. The results of these new program reviews should be reported to the institutional administrators and trustees and included in the budgetary recommendations submitted to the Governor and the General Assembly. The preliminary guidelines for the review of newly approved programs would include the following:
- 1. The six universities and college would be requested to notify the Commission by November 1 of each year for each new program of:
- a. the profile of the students being served (e.g. number of students en rolled to obtain degrees, non-majors being served by the program, demographic characteristics, attrition, etc.);
- b. the resource expenditures (and their sources) in support of the program;
- c. an analysis of the program performance in relation to the targeted program objectives at that time period in the development of the program;
- d. any administrative actions which would materially affect the original plan for program development; and
- e. the placement information of graduates in fields for which they have trained.
- 2. The staff would report annually on the development of newly approved programs and would initiate a review of these programs after the second graduating class. The review would be primarily concerned with an evaluation of a program's performance in meeting the program's objectives.