Accreditation Evidence - 2021 Midterm Report

Recommendation 5 (AP 4021)

Recommendation 5: In order to improve, the team recommends that the college continue the collaborative work on updating AP 4021 to ensure all students enrolled in programs may complete their education in a timely manner with a minimum of disruptions. (II.A.15)

In response to this recommendation, the College revised its Administrative Procedure (AP) 4021, entitled “Program Revitalization, Suspension, or Discontinuation” process on 8 January 2019. The revised AP created a standing Program Viability Committee (PVC) “tasked with reviewing data and making recommendations relevant to the revitalization, suspension, or discontinuance of an instructional program” as well as “making recommendations relevant to the initiation…of an instructional program.” The PVC is co-chaired by a president of the Academic Senate and the vice president of instruction and includes one faculty member from each division, one member of the Multicultural and Diversity Committee, and two deans or directors. The process involves extensive data analysis as well as opportunities for program faculty, the College’s Budget Advisory Committee. area deans, and the community to provide input to the PVC as it is making its recommendation about a program. The PVC’s recommendations then go to the college president for final review, approval, and implementation (R.5.1, R.5.2, R.5.3, R.5.4, R.5.5, R.5.6, R.5.7).

AP 4021 states that a program can be recommended to the PVC for analysis by “the administration, faculty, the Program Review Committee, or the Academic Senate.” In addition, in November 2018 the College created an additional systematic method for determining which programs ought to be reviewed by the PVC. In September of each year the Office of Institutional Research supplies deans, directors and faculty with program review data sets for each program in their area which includes: five-year FTES trend data (year-over-year change average), FTES/FTEF, fall to spring persistence, total number of completers and, if relevant, number of transfers to four-year institutions. This program data is reviewed by the appropriate dean and/or directors and is discussed with appropriate faculty during the program review process. At the conclusion of the program review process, programs are identified and recommended for further review through the process outlined in AP 4021 by deans, directors, faculty in the program and/or the Program Review Committee by completing Appendix A, as outlined in AP 4021.

As an example, in October 2018 the PVC reviewed the College’s agriculture/farm program and, after an exhaustive analysis, recommended the discontinuation of some of the program’s degrees and certificates, redirecting it away from livestock and into horticulture. Additionally, the committee offered recommendations related to strengthening the College’s Shively Farm operation (R.5.8, R.5.9). In fall 2018 and spring 2019, the PVC also reviewed the College’s Digital Media, Manufacturing Technology, and Restaurant Hospitality Management programs and provided recommendations to the president (R.5.10, R.5.11, R.5.12).

While extremely rare, the PVC occasionally recommends the discontinuation of a program that requires the College to devise ways for students currently enrolled in that program to complete their degrees and certificates. The Digital Media discontinuation is a good example of how the College meets student needs when this situation arises, through a collaborative process involving deans, faculty members, and office staff members. On December 7, 2018 the president approved all of the PVC’s recommendations to inactivate the Digital Media degrees and certificates. At that point, the Dean of Career Education worked with the institutional research office to identify students currently pursuing degrees and certificates in order to ensure that all students in the discontinued program could complete them prior to their discontinuation and sent a letter to those students informing them about their options (R.5.13). Additionally, the PVC recommendation involved rehousing courses that were coded as Digital Media under Art, so the Dean of Arts and Humanities and Art faculty worked with the Dean of Career Education to arrive at a “course substitution” plan to facilitate student completion in the discontinued Digital Media program (R.5.14, R.5.15, R.5.16). Similarly, when the president approved the PVC recommendation to discontinue the Business Technology program (R.5.19), the Dean of Career Education obtained a list of current students in the program, informed them of their options, and worked with them to complete their degrees and certificates (R.5.20).

Another responsibility of the PVC is to review the progress of programs and areas relative to the recommendations. As an example, the PVC reviewed the progress toward meeting the committee’s previous recommendations for the Addiction Studies and Non-Credit programs and offered an assessment of the programs’ progress (R.5.17, R.5.18).

Analysis and Evaluation:

The College has revised and updated its AP 4020 and AP 4021 process so that a standing committee, representing all relevant constituent groups, reviews all proposals for new programs as well as existing programs for initiation, revitalization, suspension or discontinuation. The new process encourages program faculty, area deans, and the community to provide feedback in addition to the thorough data analysis that the committee performs prior to making its recommendations. Thus far, in those rare instances of discontinuation, area deans and faculty have taken the lead to ensure that all students complete their programs of study in the most efficient and timely fashion by working with the Institutional Research Office to identify students in the middle of the programs, informing students of their options, and working with them to complete.

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