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Program Review

Suggested Measures for Meeting Guidelines

  1. Student Demand
    Within reasonable limits, students should have the opportunity to enroll in programs of study in which they are interested and for which they are qualified. Therefore, student demand for programs, indicated primarily by current and projected enrollments, is an important consideration in determining the need for a program.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • Survey results for students who may be interested in the proposed program
    • Attendance figures for informational meetings held to gauge interest
    • List of contacts for prospective enrollees
    • Annual number of undergraduate students in the same discipline that might desire to pursue a graduate degree
  2. Societal Needs
    Postsecondary education institutions bear a responsibility for preparing students to meet the State's workforce and knowledge needs. Work force demand projections serve as one indication of the need for a proposed program. Although achieving and maintaining a perfect balance between supply and demand in any given career field is nearly impossible, it is important nevertheless that the number of persons trained in a field and the number of job openings in that field remain in reasonable balance.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • List of Career options for graduates
    • Labor market projections
    • Letters from regional employers claiming need for larger applicant pool
  3. Appropriateness to Institutional and Segmental Mission
    Programs offered by public institution within a given system must comply with the delineation of function for that system, as set forth in the California Master Plan for Higher Education. Proposed new programs must also be consistent with the institution's own statement of mission and must be approved by the system's statewide governing body.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • Discussion of institutional/segmental mission and relate to proposed program
    • If applicable, citation of statutory delegation of authority to offer program
  4. The Number of Existing and Proposed Programs in the Field
    An inventory of existing and proposed programs, compiled by the Commission staff from the plans of all systems of postsecondary education, provides the initial indication of apparent duplication or undue proliferation of programs, both within and among the systems. However, the number of programs alone cannot be regarded as an indication of unnecessary duplication. This is because (a) programs with similar titles may have varying course objectives or content, (b) there may be a demonstrated need for the program in a particular region of the state, or (c) the program may be needed for an institution to achieve academic comparability within a given system.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • List of all related programs in the geographical region of the proposed program
    • Include degree level of similar programs and the names of public/private/for-profit institutions offering related programs
  5. Total Costs of the Program
    Included in the consideration of costs are the number of new faculty required and the student/faculty ratios, as well as costs associated with equipment, library resources, and facilities necessary to deliver the program. For a new program, it is necessary to know the source of the funds required for its support, both initially and in the long run.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • Total projected revenue (including a breakdown of marginal cost rate, student fees, donations, etc.)
    • Annual cost estimates for additional faculty, lecture space, library costs, and any other associated expenses
  6. The Maintenance and Improvement of Quality
    Protecting the public interest and trust requires that educational programs at all levels be high quality. Although the primary responsibility for the quality of programs rests with the institution and its system, the Commission, for its part, considers pertinent information to verify that high standards have been established for the operation and evaluation of the program.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • Discussion of proposed evaluation methods for the program (student evaluations, faculty review, employer evaluation)
  7. The Advancement of Knowledge
    The program review process encourages the growth and development of intellectual and creative scholarship. When the advancement of knowledge seems to require the continuation of existing programs or the establishment of programs in new disciplines or in new combinations of existing disciplines, such considerations as costs, student demand, or employment opportunities may become secondary.

    Recommended Inclusions:

    • Discuss any new or innovative concept or practices that differentiate the proposed program from other similar programs

Commission Limitations In Program Review

Following a dramatic cut in budget and staffing in 2001, the Commission does not have the resources to carry out all of its program review responsibilities. For example, the Commission is also designated the task to participate in the review of existing programs, a responsibility that has not been regularly carried out in recent years under current staffing limitations. That responsibility historically included insuring that all systems and campuses were conducting regular and systematic review of existing programs, thus determining that proper evaluation processes are in place.

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