Questions and Rumors

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Mid-Week Questions and Rumors *

Program Prioritization Task Force

Snippets of Record for Week # 04
March 26, 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 the heated debate within the PPTF has contributed to the global warming effects—thereby spawning the once-in-a-century Snowmageddon storms and spring floods, of late.

R: On a light note, the only heat on record is the oven temperature that delivers the drop-dead scrumptious goodies the group occasionally enjoys—goodies provided from within the ranks of its own talented membership. Also, because all effective management begins in the kitchen, the members take turns in “walking the talk” by bringing to the table, from time to time, a delectable morsel or two—morsels that provide the energy boost to cover the mountains of work we face.

On a more serious note, the spirit that moves the PPTF is non pareil in the annals of Campus governance. The spirit of civility, transparency, and knowing how to disagree without becoming disagreeable has become the distinguishing hallmark of excellence characterizing the meetings and the work products of this 16 member group.

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.

As has been the ongoing practice—even during the best of times—all new Faculty appointments, including ongoing support for existing programs, have always been posted as being contingent upon availability of fiscal, material, and personnel resources. Thus, in the absence of any information to the contrary, all of us must move by the light of the present day and maintain current courses of action that are in alignment with the Gallaudet Strategic Plan. And that’s the best any one of us can ever do, given the uncertainties of life in the 21st century.

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 on and at the following dates/times/locations:
    -      Monday....March 29 @ 04:04–05:04......SAC 1011
    -      Tuesday....March 30 @ 08:33–09:33......SAC 1011
    -      Friday.......April 02 @ 12:01–01:01...... MLC B111
  • 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

Q:Many of our Campus programs were in existence long before the emergence of the Gallaudet Strategic Plan. So, why should they be compelled to develop retroactive support for the GSP, as well as for the newly minted Statements of Mission and Vision?

R:To borrow an old saw from the leadership literature: “The management style that got you to your new position of leadership will not necessarily be the one keeping you in that position—unless you adapt that style to the demands of changing environments.”

On that note, the Campus community has accepted without major reservations the entirety of the Gallaudet Strategic Plan, including the Gallaudet Mission and Vision Statements. Additionally, all programs have been requested during the past 24 months to develop their own comparable statements of mission and goals—showing how those statements align themselves with the master GSP. These initiatives were not only brought about by the downturns in the National economy and Gallaudet’s flat Federal funding projections, but also by the mandates of accreditation agencies, including MSCHE.


Selected Snippets on Questions & Rumors of Past Weeks

Q: What are the voting procedures characterizing TF decisions?

R: The PPTF follows a simple majority (51%) rule for all house-keeping matters, but a super-majority (75%) rule for all substantive issues.

Q: How is the Campus expected to reconcile the apparent contradiction of allowing new program initiatives to move on through CUE/CGE, the UF Senate and on up to the administration/BOT, given the overall charge of the TF?

R: Admittedly, members of the 2010 PPTF were also initially stumped with this apparent contradiction. Upon further fact finding, we discovered that the BOT, without objection from the Campus community, had already endorsed the Gallaudet Strategic Plan in 2009 . Key provisions within the GSP 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.

Furthermore, the GSP/BOT/Administration expects the PPTF:

  • “to review current programs and to make recommendations for maintaining, enhancing, reducing, merging, or eliminating current programs;” and
  • "to establish the criteria and procedural methods for reviewing new programs being proposed to the CUE/CGE Governance Councils."

Q: What set of circumstances—including the flat-funding of Gallaudet’s Federal budget allocations—contributed to the establishment of the TF?

R: The PPTF was created as a proactive initiative to address the increased competition for public and private resources that Gallaudet has been experiencing due to a variety challenges. These challenges include:

  1. the accumulative effects of the Nation’s economic setbacks of the past several years—setbacks that have prompted a White House call for flat Federal funding of all programs for the next three fiscal years;
  2. the calls for increased levels of accountability demonstrating Gallaudet’s efficient use of resources; and,
  3. the calls for verifiable evidence of program effectiveness that Gallaudet has been required to produce from a variety of sources, including both MSCHE and the Federal government; viz., Office of Management and Budget’s Program Assessment Rating Tool reports.

Additionally, the proactive design and direction of the PPTF that Gallaudet has adopted reflects the best practices currently in use in higher education—practices that have been best articulated in Dickeson, R. (2010): PRIORITIZING ACADEMIC PROGRAMS AND SERVICES. (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass).


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