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General Statement on Program Review

(University Policies and Procedures, #5900)

Institutional vigor, integrity, and distinction are dependent in good measure on a regular and critical review of ongoing programs. This process should not be prompted solely by the imperative of visitations by professional, regional, or national accrediting agencies. The university should regularly affirm that its academic offerings continue to serve the legitimate professional, intellectual, and aesthetic needs of the community and region that it serves. Refinement and redefinition of the types and scope of programs should reflect changing societal needs while maintaining the selective educational core undergirding all baccalaureate programs and the selective and distinctive character and quality of graduate programs. Old Dominion University subscribes to this principle and shall continue to pursue a regular schedule of assessment.

           A new impetus has been added to the need for program review. Universities are being confronted not only by changes in student demographics and societal needs but by decreasing fiscal resources. The result is an added objective for program review. Besides identifying weak programs or programs that are no longer relevant, the developing need to reduce the scope of institutional offerings will require that choices be made between and among programs. Selective program curtailment or discontinuation will be necessary in order to maintain the level of support and excellence of the remainder.

           The policy is designed to describe the process and the basis for making the choices. It is recognized at the outset that there is no simple way to quantify the inherent value of a discipline. The criteria are intended to explore each program in terms of the university mission, student demand, program interrelationship, cost factors (productivity), and the impact of program curtailment or discontinuation. Based on the responses and subsequent to broad-based institutional discussions, judgments will be made. While prompted by fiscal constraints, it is clearly understood that university status dictates that some program judgments will represent educational objectives and values and resource allocations which mitigate comparison with cost and other factors of other programs. The continuing objective of the assessment process is to retain the appropriate balance among academic programs, research, enrichment activities, and public service. In sum, the changing environment requires a dynamic and timely response in order to maintain levels of excellence and to fulfill the mission of the university.

 

-Approved by the president
October 1, 2003

          


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