Questions and Rumors

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Mid-Week Questions and Rumors *

Program Prioritization Task Force

Snippets of Record for Week # 06
April 07, 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 http://pptf.gallaudet.edu/.


—Snippy's Quote of the Week—
"The greatest challenge confronting us is the ability
to state our problems in ways that
allow us to find their solutions."

Bertrand Russell, Philosopher

Q:A flurry of rumors have been raining down upon us like Cherry Blossoms falling to the
ground at the Tidal Basin this week; including:

(*) “I heard that 10 programs are slated for closing”;
(*) “I was told that 60 more people will be laid off at the end of the semester”; and,
(*) “Word has it that the next round of layoffs will include non-tenured Faculty.”

A: As Snippets #02 explicitly set forth.

  • The focus and the charge of PPTF is to address long-term strategic resource allocation by suggesting a series of directions for program revampment and growth. The focus and charge of the pending personnel reduction action of the administration, however, is a short-term fiduciary management decision that addresses the issue of correcting Gallaudet’s budgetary imbalances in order to maintain the institution’s fiscal stability.

As Snippets #01 explicitly set forth.

  • Unless the co-chairs made such an announcement, then it is patently false. No one speaks for the PPTF, except the co-chairs. And in this case, the co-chairs have made no such pronouncements.

The Campus is carefully monitoring on a quarterly basis the short-term targets that have been initiated in order to maintain fiscal solvency. So far, all staffing levels for the entire Campus have been met—925 employees—according to plan. Additionally, the BOT has instructed the administration that deficit spending is entirely verboten. Thus, all options are being considered to maintain this current state of fiscal solvency, including the possibility of additional layoffs and furloughs. The provost—addressing the PPTF in February—assured that administrators would also be subject to furlough actions, if the Campus were to pursue that option on a wide-scale basis.

Q: Rumors persist that the PPTF recommendations for program closings will result in Faculty layoffs.

A: The PPTF has absolutely no authority to be making any recommendations for laying off anyone. Instead, its exclusive focus is centered on the 180+ PROGRAMS in Academic Affairs Division. And, as previously expounded, programs are entities—including concentrations, specializations, and certificates— that consume resources. The PPTF will be employing a percentile system to rank all programs, using the quantitative and qualitative indices of the established nine Criteria. The administration will review these recommendations, and the BOT will have final authority for implementing them, accordingly:

  • Snippets #05: The PPTF re-sent a corrected copy of the 35% / 65% piegraph showing the relative weighting of the nine Criteria.

Q: What was the basis for the PPTF not to include “global understanding” among the nine Criteria?

A: The PPTF has employed the state-of-the-art technology in conducting its work on program prioritization.

  • Snippets #01:

    Q: Where can I find the criteria used to define the operational term: “program”?

    A: The PPTF BlackBoard site—my.gallaudet.edu—contains the application of the criteria suggested by Dickeson, R. (2010). PRIORITIZING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND SERVICES. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. Also the public website for the PPTF is finally up: http://pptf.gallaudet.edu/.

Additionally, every program has ample opportunity to provide within the 1800 words addressing the 31 qualitative data indicators—at the rate of 100 to 150 words per indicator—to set forth its shining strengths, including “global understanding.”

Furthermore, the scope and scale of the PPTF is embraced, defined, and supported by the Gallaudet Strategic Plan. At the February, 2009 meeting of the BOT, the Trustees prioritized the draft objectives under each GOAL—heavily emphasizing GOAL A, including:

  • “Focusing on international recruiting...developing partnerships, on-line offerings, and satellite entities to reach and educate international students;”
  • “Enhancing international experiences in order to allow our students to compete in a global economy;” and,
  • "Developing programs and communication policies that address parents’ and students’ desires for full participation in a global society.”
Selected Snippets on Questions & Rumors of Past Weeks
  • The P-Drive has some twists and turns that we all must navigate carefully.

    - The template is 29 pages long and will probably take several days for  entering program narratives into the 54 data indicators listed.

    - You will receive by April 7th your program's relevant quantitative data-23 caches of data indicators - from OIR; and,

    - you will be providing about 1800 words to address the 31 qualitative data  indicators - at the rate of 100 or 150 words per indicator - to supplement  and/or refute the OIR caches.

  • Data entry onto the P-Drive must be SAVED - not downloaded.

    - Downloading from your WP or WORD documents INTO THE TEMPLATE is  allowable; but not the reverse.

    - The value of SAVED is to allow a re-review of what you have  written; thereby allowing the opportunity to change it.

    - The value of SAVED is that everyone on the P-Drive can see what  each other has composed. This feature of brutal transparency was  not planned - it was an unfortunate glitch in the software.

  • Data entry onto the P-Drive must be SENT by 11:59 p.m. on April  30th.

    - Once you hit the SENT button it is "gone forever from your    control: and is deposited into the public archives of the PPTF.

    - The value of the public transparency that is characterizing the  entire process of the PPTF translates to allowing the SENT archival  treasure troves of all programs to be publicly accessible to the  Campus.

Q: What guidance can the PPTF provide to all Graduate Programs that are in the process of committing to new students this fall if they do not know the ultimate fate of those programs?

R: A similar concern was raised Snippets #02—top of second page—and the same general principle applies; namely:

  • Key provisions within the Gallaudet Strategic Plan promoted the establishment of new programs: (a) programs that addressed pressing needs in adult degree completion, and emerging markets in the deaf service professions, including the interpreting field; and, (b) programs that are veritably keeping us alive while the PPTF conducts its business.

This summer the PPTF will be developing 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.

Q: The Call for Program Data announcement was recently released and asks that the data templates for all programs be submitted by April 30th . That is a tall order, considering what has historically been a “short” end-of-the-semester month. What resources will be made available to help with this massive undertaking?

R: 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;
  • providing training and support on accessing the treasure troves within both the DataWarehouse system, and the institutional data within the PeopleSoft system;
  • establishing live training opportunities to help with completing the templates:
  • providing the alumni/alumnae post-graduation survey data; and,
  • encouraging program heads to be supplementing all quantitative indices with appropriately concise qualitative indices of program support.

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