Committee meets to discuss its role

Cassie Buchman, News Editor

This story has been updated to add information that was not received as of press time Sunday.

The Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee met for the first time to discuss its charge and role going forward Friday.

Following the vitalization project, where Workgroups made recommendations to different programs and services, Workgroup no. 7, which looked at Academic Programs, suggested seven programs be eliminated or consolidated.

This list was later cut down to four programs.

Friday, Jan. 20 was the date the group was supposed to receive information on the programs being considered for elimination or reorganization if it would result in the laying off of an employee.

At 1 p.m., when it met, Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee members had not received this information, though they received it later that afternoon.

Committee member Richard Jones, a communication studies professor, was decided on to be the chair.

Future meetings will take place 1 p.m. Mondays in 2220 Buzzard, including this coming week.

Jones said first and foremost, the committee’s charge is to the review the data, request other pieces of data and make recommendations based on this data.

“My understanding is that when we get the information, the recommendation from the Provost (Blair Lord) or President (David Glassman) will already be there,” Jones said. “I think the way we’re interpreting it is that we (decide if we) agree or disagree with the recommendation that is made.”

John Emmett, a kinesiology and sports studies professor, said it looked like the group just says whether or not it agrees with the recommendations.

“Just yes or no agreements, we don’t reinterpret or offer another option,” he said.

Jill Fahy, a communication disorders and sciences professor, said the group is supposed to review the information, vet it and look for missing information, to make sure all data was gathered and used appropriately.

The committee is supposed to receive data on enrollment, majors and course offerings as well as program costs, but it can request additional data if it needs to.

In an email after the meeting, Jones said the committee received information on all four programs being considered for elimination or reorganization.
This included information on majors, credit hours and FTE, program profit and loss statements, major assessment profiles, affected course offerings, dean and program comments to Workgroup no. 7’s recommendations and the Workgroup’s worksheets and annotations.
 
In an accompanying memo from the Provost, it was indicated that the committee is only required to review the philosophy program is it is the only one where potential elimination or reorganization would result in the reduction of Unit A employees, Jones said.
According to the memo, the other three programs, the bachelor’s degree in Africana Studies, adult and community education and career and technical education, would not result in the layoff of a Unit A employee.
Jones said in Article 18 of the Unit A/ Unit B bargaining agreement, the contract does not require the committee review the materials for those programs, but can if they wish to do so.

According to the contract, the committee is also expected to review “program costs and enrollment history, contributions of the program to the general education requirements, interdisciplinary and service functions, graduation requirements, the University curriculum, and contributions of the program to the mission and goals of the University.”

One piece of information the committee discussed using is rebuttals from programs recommended for elimination or consolidation given to Workgroup no.7, who originally made these recommendations, during the vitalization project process.

Kathleen O’Rourke, a professor and coordinator for the graduate program in aging studies, said the Workgroup requested these rebuttals, and departments responded with the understanding that Workgroup no. 7 would discuss them and integrate these rebuttals in the final report.

“If they did that, I’m just not seeing that reflected in the January report,” she said.

Jones said there were some inaccuracies in the workgroup’s final report that departments thought would be corrected.

“That’s why we need to see those rebuttals,” he said.

O’Rourke said these rebuttals would give the group a more current and accurate picture.

“The rebuttals are key. I think that will really clue us into, if a department says in a rebuttal, we have this information we could provide,” Jones said.

The Faculty Senate, Council on Academic Affairs, Council on Teacher Education and graduate school will also be involved with this process and receive information.

However, Jones said there is nothing that said these groups need to coordinate their response.

“I think our first priority is to review the information when we receive it and follow those guidelines to talk amongst ourselves and figure out what we need to figure out,” Jones said. “Secondary to that is how all this is communicated.”

Before Eastern gives its recommendations on program status to the Board of Trustees, the Academic Program Elimination/Reorganization Review Committee will make its own report to the Provost by March 15.

 

Cassie Buchman can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]