Questions and Rumors

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Mid-Week Questions and Rumors *

Program Prioritization Task Force

Snippets of Record for Week # 07
April 14, 2010

* These weekly snippets of communication serve as our convenient updates to the Campus community, and are by nature brief and to the point. They complement the more thorough and detailed announcements appearing on our frequent BlackBoard postings and in our occasional Campus-wide electronic mailings. The PPTF believes that “more is better,” and for that reason we have built into our communication plan this feature of purposeful redundancy. Again, a more complete treatment of these issues can be found on the PPTF site of BlackBoard—e.g., FAQs: Academic Program Prioritization, and

- Snippy's Quote of the Week -

"If the only tool you are handy with is a hammer, then you tend to see every problem as a nail."

Abraham Maslow,  Psychologist 

 Q:   What’s been happening since long-ago last week?

A: . On a light note, who is Snippy? Snippy—The Rumor Killer—is the PPTF mascot who attends our meetings and can be seen at Upon opening the site—and using the left-hand sidebar—click on the first sub-heading: “Program Prioritization Task Force” and play the video all the way to the end.

On another light note, because we the PPTF is a state-of-the-art operation, we recently discovered that some institutions of higher learning have a Committee on Committees, as does our Federal brethren on The Hill. The ostensible purpose of this entity is to make sure that no other committees overlap each other in function, thereby ensuring that all operations are lean and clean.

While we are sure that MSCHE would welcome the advent of such an entity to our complicated Campus governance structures, we also suddenly realized that it provides us with a quick sound-bite definition of what the PPTF does; viz., identifies resource duplication.

Q:   A flurry of opinions and musings have been expressed in various venues on the Campus:

(*) “Are you people (PPTF) nuts? Who is going to read all the data being posted from over 180 programs?;
(*) “Are you telling us that Snippy & Company will be reading all that data in the allotted time and then make a set of recommended rankings by summer’s end?”;
(*) “Maybe the PPTF is the most smoothly functioning, well-oiled machine in the annals of Campus governance, but honestly, what is your secret? Can you share with us how you propose to pursue such an ambitious agenda?”

(*) “The provost has shared at various times in public meetings during the MSCHE crisis period that some of the departmental evaluation data collected by OIR is invalid due to a variety of reasons, including discrepancies between departmental records and PeopleSoft records, as well as the purported uneven­ness of cross-departmental evaluations. Why, therefore, is the PPTF making a five-year data request?” and,

(*) “How do we know if OIR program data is correct? What do we do if we disagree?”  

A: The short answer? Try seeing Broadway’s classic musicale: “Stop the world I want to get off!”

The long answer, includes: 

The Campus has been trying earnestly over the past five years to centralize its databases into a coherent, accurate, and user-friendly format. In fact, MSCHE has expected no less. Ostensibly, while most program heads have been prudently keeping track of their own databases and should continue to be doing so, the time has long since arrived for having an official record site that documents all program activities, including the DataWarehouse system and the PeopleSoft system. Call, GU Institutional Data Administrator for any questions concerning your data caches. 

As Snippets #04 explicitly set forth:

“The Office of Institutional Research has developed a series of support systems, including...(*) providing summaries of already existing data for the past five years, while at the same time allowing program heads to vouch for the accuracy or inaccuracy of such data caches...”

The PPTF has attached to this edition of Snippets a set of summer timelines, chronicling the tasks and events that must transpire if it is to achieve its BOT-mandated target of end-of-the-calendar year submission of recommended rankings.

 While Snippets #04 already alluded to this summer plan, it has now been tentatively developed and will be soon disseminated: 

“This summer the PPTF will be developing [read: engaging in] an operational plan for implementing the recommendations accepted by the administration and BOT. While the specifics of this process have yet to be worked out and consequently shared with the Campus, suffice it to say that the ethical principle of ‘Do No Harm’ will guide the direction of this implementation plan—especially as it applies to students. Again: every effort will be made to ensure that students will be provided with options in the event of program closings.”

Goal for April includes developing a process for reviewing new program proposals, including developing a set of specific criteria to assess the potential of the new program contributing to the Gallaudet Mission and Strategic Plan.

A peek at April reveals...

April 09
Conversation with CUE, CGE, Admissions, Budget director, and anyone else with vested interest in how new programs are evaluated.

April 16
Review facts learned from April 9 conversation; discussion of recommendations for new program criteria, proposal format, process.

April 23
Discuss, finalize recommendations for new program criteria, proposal format, and dissemination process.


Honestly, folks, if we do, in fact, pull this entire enterprise off on a wing and a prayer, we will be sure to share with you a tale of legendary proportions-a tale chronicling our tears, turmoil, and triumphs.

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