Regents Approve Program Review Plan in Effort to Reduce Size of Future Student Fee Increases

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo.,

Sept. 19, 2003 – The Southeast Missouri State University Board of Regents today approved a plan for reviewing academic and nonacademic programs that may reduce the size of future student fee increases while maintaining the overall quality of the University’s academic program. Ultimately, this review could result in a relatively small number of University programs being reduced or eliminated.

The review comes in light of declining state appropriations and rapidly rising student fees. In June, the Board asked the Southeast administration to review all academic and nonacademic programs, the faculty profile and all curricula in University Studies and in the academic majors in order to reduce costs.

The University’s Board of Regents declared the University in a state of financial emergency in June 2002 and reaffirmed that declaration in June of this year. Board members said a program review is necessary considering the University has lost more than $8 million in annual base appropriations from the state of Missouri since fiscal 2001. The Board also based its decision on the fact that Southeast has received additional one-time withholdings of more than $9.75 million during fiscal years 2002, 2003 and 2004, and that the University has increased expenses by more than $1.5 million annually due to inflation and increased costs of health insurance and utilities over the last three years.

The Regents also took note of current projections indicating that Missouri may face an $800 to $900 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2005. “With that kind of projection, we cannot expect the appropriation picture for higher education to improve in the foreseeable near future,” said Dr. Jane Stephens, University provost.

In June, the Regents said they want to reduce the University’s base expenditures in order to avoid having to raise student fees by the increments that have been necessary over the past two years to balance the budget.

As a result of that request, the Board today approved a timeline and processes for undertaking a comprehensive program review – both academic and nonacademic.

Academic Program ReviewᾰPhase I

Stephens outlined the details of the upcoming academic program review plan to begin next week on campus. Under that plan, the University will identify academic programs that might be reduced or eliminated with the least loss of student majors and the least damage to significant institutional initiatives.

The list of programs to be reviewed over the next five weeks was approved by the Board today. The list includes the B.S. in Geography, the B.S. in Corporate Communication, the B.S.B.A. in Organizational Administration, the B. S. in Engineering Physics, the B.S. and B.S. in Education in Physics, the B. S. in Medical Technology, the B. A. and B.S. in Sociology, the B.A. in Philosophy, the B. S. in Family and Consumer Sciences Education, the B. S. in Family Life, the B. A. and B. S. in Education in French, the B.S. in Agriculture, the B. S. in Food Service and Hospitality Management, the B.S. and B. S. in Education in Geosciences, the B. S. in Speech, the B.A. in Anthropology, the B. A. and B.F.A. in Theatre and Dance, and the B.S. and B.S.B.A. in Economics.

Factors to be considered in making a decision about whether to continue these programs will include size, scope and productivity of programs; revenue and other resources generated by programs; costs and expenses associated with programs; internal and external demand for programs; and quality of programs, Stephens said.

University officials emphasized that not all programs on the review list will be eliminated or reduced. But until the review process is completed and final recommendations approved by the Board of Regents on Nov. 14, it is not possible to say what programs or how many will be affected.

Officials said that if a program is eliminated, the University is committed to helping any affected students complete the degree they have started or to find alternative programs. In most cases, juniors and seniors and some sophomores would be able to complete their present degree programs before any program discontinuance takes effect.

Efforts will also be made to provide assistance to tenured faculty who may be terminated as a result of program elimination. Southeast President Kenneth W. Dobbins has requested that an ad hoc Retirement Incentives Committee and the Faculty Senate Compensation Committee review possible severance pay and retirement incentive options with a report due Nov. 5. Faculty members affected by any program discontinuance would have two national recruitment cycles to find other positions, officials said, and those eligible may choose to retire.

The academic program review plan and timeline approved today have been reviewed by the Faculty Senate, deans, chairpersons and executive staff, and have been distributed to all faculty.

The academic program review plan is divided into two phases. During the first phase, Stephens said, the academic programs identified today, which are in the lowest quartile based on average number of majors over the past three years – those with less than about 27 majors – will be reviewed. Dobbins also appointed a Faculty Advisory Committee today to review the process and provide additional advice.

Members of the Faculty Advisory Committee are Dr. Judy Wiles, Harrison College of Business; Dr. Gale McMahan, College of Education; Dr. Mark Langenfeld, College of Health and Human Services; Dr. Rick Althaus, College of Liberal Arts; Dr. Walt Lilly, College of Science and Mathematics; Dr. Harry Pry, School of Polytechnic Studies; Dr. Fred Yeo, Moderator, Chairpersons’ Forum; Dr. Paul Lloyd, Chair, Faculty Senate; and Dr. Fred Janzow, Interim Vice Provost, who will facilitate the work of the committee.

The departments in which the programs to be reviewed are located will have until Oct. 23 to provide a response describing how the review criteria apply to their programs.

Dobbins and Stephens plan to review numerical data and responses from the departments from Oct. 23 to Nov. 5. The Faculty Advisory Committee also will review the data and make a report to Stephens and Dobbins by Nov. 5. When the program review process is completed, Stephens said she will recommend to Dobbins reductions or eliminations. Dobbins will present his recommendations to the Board at its Nov. 14 meeting, Stephens said.

Affected departments will be notified of program reduction or elimination immediately after that meeting. Stephens said she and Dobbins will discuss options with affected faculty at that time.

Two other aspects of academic program evaluation are taking place at the same time as the academic program review process, Stephens said. On

Sept. 10, the Faculty Senate approved a change in the policy governing the ratio of tenure track to non-tenure track faculty positions at the University. As a result of that decision, the Board today established a policy limit of 20 percent non-tenure track faculty – up from the current 15 percent limit.

Raising the percentage of non-tenure track faculty will provide more flexibility in the staffing of classes, Stephens told the Regents.

Also in conjunction with the academic program review, Stephens said that she, along with the deans and chairpersons, are working to establish new targets for class frequency, class size, and number of course options in University Studies and the majors for summer and fall 2004 and are reviewing ways to reach those goals. Stephens says those targets are to be presented to her on Dec. 1 so that publishing deadlines for summer and fall 2004 class schedules can be met.

Nonacademic Program Review

At the same time as the academic program review, the University’s executive staff is undertaking a thorough review of Southeast’s nonacademic programs, including athletics. The same criteria – size, scope, productivity of the program, revenue and other resources generated by programs, costs, expenses, impact, justification, need, demand, quality, processes and outputs – are being used in evaluating nonacademic programs.

Ideas for restructuring and cost reduction that were submitted last fall by faculty, staff and students but were not implemented in 2002-2003, as well as additional ideas, will be discussed at an executive staff retreat next week.

In October, the executive staff’s preliminary list of ideas to be implemented will be presented and discussed with the campus community at open forums. On Nov. 14, the final recommendations concerning non-academic programs will be presented to the Board of Regents.

Academic Program Review — Phase II

Stephens said that after the first phase of the academic program review is completed, the University will fully address the Board of Regents’ directive to review all programs to become more efficient in the delivery of curricula and more aligned with a more focused institutional mission. The second phase will begin with a streamlined strategic planning process that will refine and focus the University’s mission for the next three to five years. It will continue with a thorough review of all academic and non-academic programs in light of the redefined and focused mission.

In addition, a review of all academic programs will be implemented in an effort to meet the Board’s goal of streamlining curricula and achieving more efficient management of curricula. After completing this review, Stephens said she will recommend to Dobbins those programs or curricula that are to be revised, reduced, eliminated or enhanced in light of the University’s refined mission.

Academic Program Review – Phase III

Beginning in the spring of 2006, all programs will continue to be on a schedule of annual review based on key performance indicators, alignment of programs with the refined mission, and criteria used in the first two phases of program review, Stephens said. The annual review process will include new regional or institutional needs as they emerge over the strategic plan period, she added.