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Frequently Asked Questions






 

What is Charging Forward?

Charging Forward is a systematic process of prioritizing academic and administrative programs and services to strategically reallocate resources to support priority programs. This important initiative will allow us to reinvest and support those programs that further our vision and reputation, and help us take advantage of opportunities, and manage future challenges without increasing the overall budget.  The prioritization process is being coordinated through the work of members appointed by the President to the academic or administrative task forces. 

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What is program prioritization?

Program prioritization, a method formulated by higher education consultant and president emeritus of the University of Northern Colorado, Robert C. Dickeson, reviews all academic and administrative programs supported by the operating budget, simultaneously and equally, against stated criteria.  Dickeson’s (2010) book, Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve Strategic Balance, provides a prioritization and reallocation process that has been used at many universities including University of Hartford, Drake University, Western Carolina University and the University of Missouri.  The Dickeson approach emphasizes openness, transparency and broad participation as integral to the success of the process. Based on evidence provided, programs are placed into a resource allocation category.  Categories range from recommendation for enhanced support to candidates for phase out. 

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Why are we conducting program prioritization?

Program prioritization emphasizes the importance of assessment and reflection to yield a deeper understanding of our academic and administrative programs and the resources needed to support them. The evidence-based decision-making process will help us design a roadmap for investment and reallocation over time to achieve our vision.  President Kaplan has indicated that overall, we must continue to strengthen our core academic programs while prioritizing new areas for investment and explore creating new majors that may be more attractive to prospective, higher-achieving students.  We will require additional resources to achieve these goals, which will initially have to come from a reallocation of our current budget.  This should, in turn, generate new income, which will allow us to continue to thrive. 

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Who is conducting program prioritization?

The two task forces, academic and administrative, are each comprised of both faculty and staff and were selected by President Kaplan with input from his cabinet and deans. Click here for a list of the academic and administrative task force members. The Academic Prioritization Task Force (ACPTF) will set criteria and review all academic programs offered at the University. The Administrative Prioritization Task Force (ADPTF) will set criteria and review all administrative and support programs.  Both task forces will review and prioritize programs using a parallel process. 

As President Kaplan noted in his November, 2012, message to the University community (link to November letter), task force members bring broad perspectives from all areas of the University, and are not expected to represent an individual constituency, rather, the expectation is that all task force members adopt a “trustee mentality” and act as stewards in ensuring that the process is fair and that the recommendations are in the best interest of the institution. In late January, task force members completed a two-day training workshop on Dickeson’s prioritization model conducted by Larry Goldstein of Campus Strategies, LLC. 

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What is the charge to the task forces?

The task forces are charged with completing a comprehensive review and assessment of all University administrative and academic programs in an effort to become more strategic and efficient in response to changing economic conditions and market realities.  President Kaplan indicates that at the end of this process, every academic and administrative program currently offered by UNH will be examined to assess its contributions to our overall success in comparison with other programs at UNH.  It is important to note that the task forces are recommending rather than implementing entities. 

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What are the process steps?

Dickeson’s prioritization model generally involves the following steps:

  • Identify resource allocation categories
  • Develop criteria and relevant indicators for evaluating programs.  These criteria will be applied consistently across all programs, with one set of criteria for the ADPTF and one set of criteria for the ACPTF.
  • Identify academic and administrative units to be evaluated
  • Create the process for data collection.
  • Collect data from programs.  Some data will be provided from centralized sources and made available to programs during the collection process.
  • Evaluate data and place programs into resource allocation categories
  • Complete a report with recommended program categorization (link to question 8) and submit it for consideration by senior decision makers.

While Charging Forward is based on the Dickeson model, it is important to note that prioritization processes used by other universities following Dickeson's model have all looked quite different. The task forces will use the general approach advocated by Dickeson but modify the process to best apply to UNH. 

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What are the guiding principles of program prioritization?

The evaluation process must ensure that no individual programs are unfairly treated resulting in a fair assessment of all programs. The task forces are expected to take a holistic approach when making judgments about academic and administrative programs. While all criteria decided on by the task forces must be addressed in the assessment of each program, the applicability of the specific indicators in each criterion will vary by program.  As President Kaplan noted, holistic assessment takes into consideration the full gamut of institutional assessment factors including qualitative and quantitative, financial and non-financial, and any other relevant measures of performance.

Open discussion throughout the process must take place so that its purpose, benefits to the institution, and potential outcomes are acknowledged and considered.  Stakeholders will have the opportunity for input into the criteria and template and to express their views at each stage. Transparency throughout the process is critical to assure acceptance of the process and the resulting recommendations. 

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What are the resource allocation categories?

After review, each academic and administrative program will be assigned to one of five allocation categories, with an approximately equal number of programs placed into each category. Each category will then be reviewed to align with the budgetary allocation goals of the prioritization process (see question 10).

The five recommended resource allocation categories are:

  • Candidate for Enhanced Support
  • Candidate for Continued Support
  • Candidate for Reduced Support
  • Candidate for Transformation or Restructuring
  • Candidate for Phase Out
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What is the timeline for program prioritization?

The work of the task forces to create the process, collect /evaluate data and prioritize the programs is expected to take 9 to 12 months.  The task forces began working in late January 2013, and the current timeline suggests a completion date of January 2014.  

Implementation of recommendations is a separate phase outside the charge of the task forces. 

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What are the monetary goals of program prioritization?

To strategically reallocate $4-5 million of the University’s budget. 

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What criteria will be used in program prioritization? How will criteria be developed?

A majority of institutions that completed program prioritization have used all or part of Dickeson’s ten criteria for classifying academic programs. These criteria are:

  • History, development and expectations of the program
  • External demand
  • Internal demand
  • Quality of program inputs and processes
  • Quality of program outcomes
  • Size, scope and productivity of the program
  • Revenue and other resources generated by the program
  • Costs and other expenses associated with the program
  • Impact, justification, and overall essentiality of the program
  • Opportunity analysis of the program

Similarly, many institutions use some or all of the following criteria for classifying administrative programs:

  • Importance to the institution
  • External demand
  • Internal demand
  • Quality
  • Cost effectiveness
  • Opportunity analysis of the program

The task forces, with input from the University community, will identify data sources and appropriate indicators/metrics for each criterion. Evaluations will be based on these quantitative data and qualitative narratives submitted via a template. 

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Where will programs get data to report?

The Office of Institutional Research will provide data from centralized UNH sources (e.g., admissions data, enrollment data, and financial data).  Programs may submit data they have collected as part of their self-evaluation processes.

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Will the University community be updated about the process and results? How?

Yes. The task forces have created a broad communication strategy that includes the Charging Forward website with frequent updates on the progress of each task force, a University-wide meeting to introduce the process and objectives of Charging Forward, small group meetings, and training on how to complete the template. The task forces are committed to using multiple modalities to communicate to the University community. Any time-sensitive information will be communicated via a “UNHAll” email. Materials restricted for faculty and staff on campus will be posted on the InsideUNH portal and will be password-protected.

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Will input from the University community be considered in the process?

  • Yes, the task forces will seek input from stakeholders on the criteria, metrics and data sources to be used. Once the template for data collection has been developed, a pilot study will be conducted to ensure clarity and usability.
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Will task force recommendations be shared with the UNH community?

It will be the responsibility of the University’s senior leadership – President Kaplan and members of the cabinet – to decide which recommendations to accept and implement, and on what timetable. The provost and chief financial officer are acting as project champions and will work with the president and other officers of the University to implement the recommendations of the two task forces.

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When will recommendations be implemented?

It will be the responsibility of the University’s senior leadership – President Kaplan and members of the cabinet – to decide which recommendations to accept and implement, and on what timetable. The provost and chief financial officer are acting as project champions and will work with the president and other officers of the University to implement the recommendations of the two task forces.

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Will the prioritization process have employment implications for faculty and staff?

There will be careful consideration of the impact on individuals during the implementation phase. The Charging Forward process is intended to lead UNH through a comprehensive, long-term budget reallocation process. This process will take nine months to one year and has no set preconceived outcomes. It is not meant to be a cost-cutting exercise. The goal is not to reduce the number of faculty or staff. If it is necessary to eliminate a position, substantial efforts will be made to place qualified people in redefined positions. While there is never a guarantee of permanent employment, all Faculty Handbook, Provost Guidelines, Union Contracts and Employee Handbook provisions will be followed.

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How will the prioritization affect students?

The goal of the project is to strengthen the University for all stakeholders. If a particular program is phased out, current students will have an opportunity to complete their programs within a reasonable time frame.

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How often will program prioritization occur?

Many universities make this process a part of their ongoing system of program review and process improvement. President Kaplan has noted that program prioritization will be an ongoing process, and he and his cabinet will decide how often the process will occur.

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How is program prioritization different from program review?

Program review is a self-study conducted by faculty and staff within the program with the intent of improving program outcomes. Program prioritization involves a simultaneous, comparative evaluation across programs within a context of wider university priorities with the intent of reallocating resources. Much of the data collected in a program review will be used in program prioritization.

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How closely tied is program prioritization to the Strategic Plan 2020?

The University's current strategic plan, UNH 2020 Vision, adopted in 2012, is intended to develop, strengthen and expand the University via three strategic pillars:

  • Academic Quality and Distinction
  • Transformational Experience through Student Engagement
  • Technological Advancement

Programs and activities that support the objectives of the strategic plan will be given a higher priority in the allocation of resources.

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If anyone in the University community has further questions, who can be contacted?

Please address questions about the prioritization process to ChargingForward@newhaven.edu.