MDHE Asks Southeast to Evaluate 27 Programs as Part of Statewide Review

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo., Oct. 19, 2010 — As part of the statewide program review process currently under way, the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) last week asked Southeast Missouri State University to review 27 of its programs which fall below MDHE graduation criteria.

The University has been asked to determine why these programs fall below the criteria and provide either a remedial course of action for these programs, the possible elimination of the program, or take another course of action, said Ken Dobbins, Southeast President. 

Dobbins says academic program review is “nothing new” for Southeast Missouri State. The Board of Regents approved an elaborate program review process in 2003 with input from Faculty Senate, deans, department chairs, faculty, and the executive staff.  The Academic Program Review Committee, consisting of 10 faculty plus the dean of Graduate Studies, plays a central role in program review at Southeast. The purpose of Southeast’s academic program review, according to Dobbins, is to assess each unit’s academic program quality and effectiveness, stimulate program planning and improvement, continue fulfilling the University’s mission to the communities and people it serves and encourage the unit’s development in strategic directions that reflect Southeast’s priorities.

Southeast Provost Ron Rosati said “In the last five years, every academic program at Southeast has been reviewed.  It is part of our on-going due diligence.”   

He further emphasized, “Just because a program is under MDHE review, doesn’t mean the program will be eliminated. In fact, most of the programs on the MDHE list will be retained.” 

Rosati cited the bachelor’s degree program in philosophy as an example, saying students across a variety of disciplines at the University must take philosophy courses as general education requirements despite a low number of graduates in the degree program. Thus, he said, the philosophy academic program must be retained.

The programs in question include three certificate, two associate, 17 baccalaureate and five master’s degree programs.

The certificate programs include:• Administrative Assistant• Design Drafting• Electronics

The associate degree programs include:• Child Care & Guidance• Computer Technology

Those on the baccalaureate degree programs list include:• Administrative Systems Management• Anthropology• Athletic Training• Computer Science• Corporate Communication• Economics• Engineering Physics• Environmental Science• German• History• Hospitality Management• International Business• Medical Technology• Music• Performing Arts• Philosophy• Theatre and Dance.

Master’s degree programs on the list include:• Criminal Justice• Exceptional Child Education• History• Nutrition & Exercise Science• Teaching English to Speakers-Other Languages

The MDHE’s evaluation of higher education programs in Missouri consists primarily of evaluating programs with less than 10 graduates per year on a rolling three-year average at the baccalaureate level, five per year at the master’s level or three per year at the doctoral level, Rosati said.

In response to MDHE’s request, the Provost’s Office at Southeast, working with the deans and chair of the program review committee, will place the identified programs in one of two categories, Rosati said.

• Programs that can be removed from the list because they meet exemption criteria, such as those developed within the past five years, those offered collaboratively and those that can be offered at no cost.

• Programs that require additional explanation. The University will conduct an expedited program review process to evaluate these programs.   Each unit involved in the review will be required to develop a recommendation for the MDHE concerning further courses of action with the programs. Programs that have been recently reviewed during the program review process will have the option of modifying their recommendations or using the previously submitted review as the review for the statewide program review initiative.

Rosati says the University was already prepared to ask its Board of Regents on Friday to consider eliminating the bachelor of science in business administration–administrative systems management program, and the administrative assistant certificate program due to the normal academic program review process. Additionally, he says his office, in the near future, will submit a recommendation to delete certificate programs in electronics and design drafting.

Approximately 12 programs meet various exemption criteria. The Provost’s Office will work with the deans and department chairs to provide the justification for the exemptions and submit that rationale to MDHE, he said.   Another 11 programs will be modified or restructured to improve program viability and strengthen academic quality. Deans will be working with department chairs and faculty to develop brief proposals outlining the changes to the programs, he said.  Programs are evaluated against a number of criteria, he said, including cost per major and cost per credit hour.

“Statistical analysis is conducted to compare our programs against each other, to compare our programs against national norms, and to evaluate three-year trend data for our programs,” he said. “Within the past 12 months, all baccalaureate programs have had additional program review consisting of statistical analysis comparing the productivity of our programs to national norms.”

Primary criteria used to evaluate the programs include: impact, justification, and overall essentiality to the Southeast mission; size, scope, and productivity of the program; revenue and other resources generated by the program; and costs and other expenses associated with the program. Other criteria used include external demand for the program, internal demand for the program, quality of program inputs and processes, and quality of program outputs.

Rosati says when reviews of the programs identified by MDHE are complete, the Provost’s Office will complete an official report for MDHE and submit the document by the Oct. 29 deadline.