Questions and Rumors

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Mid-Week Questions and Rumors *

Program Prioritization Task Force

Snippets of Record for Week # 03
March 23, 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/.


Q: Rumor has it that all small undergraduate programs—Theater, Chemistry, Foreign Languages, to mention a few—will be closed.?

R: Rumors that such decisions have been made are false on three fronts:

  • firstly, the PPTF has not, will not, and cannot be making any a priori decisions on any program under its purview;
  • secondly, when the PPTF has finished applying its multiple quantitative and qualitative indices of program resource assessment, it will establish a quartile set of recommended rankings that must satisfy the 75% super majority rule; and,
  • thirdly, unless the co-chairs have 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. If they did, they would soon be booking passage on a Slow Boat to China.

A postscript thought captures how the PPTF avoids the classic pitfall of this little gem from management lore; thereby illustrating how all a< posteriori TF voting decisions will be tempered with judicious discernment.

A Line Officer was given a ticket to an evening at Symphony Hall where Schubert’s “Unfinished Symphony” was being played. Because she was already committed for that evening, she gave the ticket to her enterprising assistant. The next morning she asked him how he enjoyed the evening. In lieu of chit chat, he handed her an Executive Summary of the symphony’s performance.

  • The oboe players had apparently nothing to do for most of the performance. Their number should be reduced and their work merged with other parts of the orchestra, thereby avoiding peaks of inactivity.
  • The violin players, all 24 of them, were playing identical notes. What a duplication of effort! The staff of this section must be cut in half. If volume of sound is really required, then amplifiers are needed at only a fraction of the cost of 12 players.
  • The horns tended to repeat the same passages of the strings. If all such redundant passages were to be eliminated, then the concert would be reduced by 50%, thereby shaving the personnel and utility costs.
  • The players are expected to master highly complex notes. For example, the 16th Notes (semiquavers) and 64th Notes (hemidemisemiquavers) could be rounded off to the nearest 8th Notes (quavers). If this were done, then para-professionals could be brought in at half the cost of the more experienced professionals.
  • The symphony has Two Movements. But Mr. Schubert seemed unable to achieve his musical goals and strategic objectives by the end of the First Movement. So, he should have stopped there. Instead of stopping, he went on to the Second Movement and never quite finished his goals there, either. Therefore, the Second Movement should be terminated.
  • Finally, if Mr. Schubert had attended to such cost savings, he would have finished his symphony in record time.

Q: Gallaudet’s consultant on resources, Dr. Larry Goldstein, advocated that ALL PROGRAMS be evaluated. Yet, the PPTF focuses only on academic programs; so, what happens to the programs not falling within its direct and immediate purview?

R: A parallel entity is presently being set up by the president’s office to complement the charge assigned to the PPTF. The wide-reaching scope and in-depth scale of this yet-to-be-named entity complements the processes and work products of the PPTF. Under the direction of the Vice President for Administration, this parallel entity establishes appropriate interface mechanisms with PPTF, as well as with other members of the President’s Cabinet. Conceivably, this new entity may be building upon the work product of the recently conducted workforce analysis project of Booz, Allen, & Hamilton—an analysis that focused on the staffing patterns of all non-academic programs. Stay tuned for the next installment expected to be forthcoming soon, from the VP for Administration.

Q: What is the internal process that the PPTF has agreed upon when its members’ own programs are up for TF discussion and adjudication?

R:All members of the PPTF have signed on board with the explicit understanding of their fiduciary responsibilities to work for the commonweal of the Campus—not for the promotion, demotion, or perpetuation of their own programs. Additionally, the weighting system, evaluation rubric, and eventual ranking system compiled individually by each of the 14 voting members of the PPTF will be amalgamated into a composite set of measures of Central Tendency, including analysis of wide variances in scores, as measured by the Standard Deviation of Means—thereby canceling any such potential for bias..


 

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