ITEM 117-106-R1102 November 21-22, 2002
MONTANA BOARD OF REGENTS OF HIGHER EDUCATION
Policy and Procedures Manual
SUBJECT: ACADEMIC AFFAIRS
Policy 303.3 - Program review
Revised November 18, 1999; Issued December 10, 1999;Revised January 2003.
Existing programs (including options and minors) shall be reviewed on a regular basis by each unit. The Commissioner of Higher Education shall initiate and coordinate such reviews of existing programs as he deems appropriate and necessary or at least every five years. The Commissioner shall report his findings to the Board.
1. Program review processes will commence with verification of a campus’ degree and program inventory by consultation between the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE) and the institution.
2. OCHE will prepare a report on degree completions for the previous six years from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDs) information originally submitted by the campuses to the U.S. Department of Education and share this information with the institution(s).
a. OCHE and the campuses will identify programs for special scrutiny based on annual productivity and enrollment criteria.
i. Programs that fall below the annual quantitative thresholds of eight or fewer graduates for bachelor’s, five or fewer graduates for master’s, and two or fewer graduates for doctoral programs on a rolling five-year average will be subject to review.
ii. Similarly, programs where overall enrollments―as measured by full-time equivalent students and overall student credit hours generated—have decreased by 20 percent or more in the preceding five years will be subject to review.
b. Campuses will review the designated program(s) and prepare a report addressing the following criteria along with indication of adverse effects that program discontinuation would have on the institution's mission, programmatic priorities or plans:
i. Centrality to mission and institutional priorities.
ii. Need and unnecessary duplication, including how the program responds to state and regional social or economic needs and priorities.
iii. Quality, citing evidence from accreditation reports, licensure examinations or other accomplishments of faculty and graduates.
iv. Enrollment as an indicator of the level of student interest and involvement in the
program, including supporting data such as a five-year history of program enrollment (majors) and course
enrollment for all specialized courses required for the program. If the program were discontinued,
identify which courses would be discontinued and which retained to serve other program needs.
v. Resources required to operate the program, including description and cost of faculty
and staff positions, other personnel, equipment, and facilities. Estimate the program resources that could
be reallocated if the program were discontinued and those that could not.
vi. Additional information, as needed, to address special circumstances.
3. Campuses will report to OCHE their recommendations for action on low productivity or low enrollment programs from among the following actions:
a. Retain: program has sufficient productivity, centrality to mission, and quality to be retained.
b. Eliminate: program has insufficient productivity, quality or merit from the campus perspective to warrant continuation. (Campuses may use the Level I termination process and the closure checklist.)
c. Consolidate: curriculum will be restructured to reduce the number of programs; e.g., bachelor’s of arts in art, drama, and dance reconfigured into a single bachelor of fine arts program.
d. Quantitative review: program is sufficiently close to numerical standards to make it possible for standards to be met in two years, and campus requests that opportunity.
e. Review: a focused evaluation with the use of external consultants is requested to determine if a credible action agenda can be developed to attain the numerical standards. With Regents approval, a program could undergo quantitative review after two years.
f. Convert: when an option shows a sustained rate of graduates (completions) sufficient to meet quantitative criteria for a major, it may be converted to a major through the Level I or II processes.
g. Special Purpose: when a program serves a special purpose in the curriculum such as
i. Master’s programs as an alternate degree to the doctorate;
ii. Programs formed of dual majors—comprised solely of program requirements from accredited programs not on the low degree list; and
iii. Programs that are central to institutional mission.
4. OCHE will prepare a summary report to the Board of Regents with final recommendations for action.
5. Following Regents’ action and consultation with the institution to determine timelines for completions for currently enrolled students, OCHE will revise the degree and program inventory to reflect changes authorized by the Board of Regents.
Item 2-001-R0973 (Revised), October 19, 1973; Board of Regents of Higher Education, Minutes October 24, 1975, as amended October 28, 1977; Memo from I. E. Dayton to Curriculum Committee, October 18, 1977, entitled "Academic Program Review"; as revised November 18, 1999 (Item 104-103-R0999).