Questions and Rumors
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Mid-Week Questions and Rumors *
Program Prioritization Task Force
Snippets of Record for Week # 02
March 08, 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: What is the connection, if any, between the president’s recent e-mail on Gallaudet’s pending personnel reductions and the on-going efforts of the TF?
R: 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.
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:
- 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;
- the calls for increased levels of accountability demonstrating Gallaudet’s efficient use of resources; and,
- 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).
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: How does the TF help departments that are conceiving innovative ideas for program growth—growth that addresses the Gallaudet Strategic Plan mandate to keep our Campus competitive in such areas as enrollment/retention, time-to-degree effectiveness, and operational costs?
R: While the Gallaudet Strategic Plan charges the PPTF with the responsibilities just enumerated above, the Campus cannot afford to just stand still during this year-long review process. Instead, new program initiatives are expected to be developed by all departments, in parallel with the concurrent efforts of the PPTF to establish the criteria and procedural methods for reviewing new programs being proposed to the CUE/CGE Governance Councils.”
Selected Snippets on Questions & Rumors of Past Weeks
Q: A recent Campus mailing from the administration announced its intent to forge a partnership with both NTID and the National Center on Deaf Health Research at the University of Rochester to explore ways of preparing our students for the growing field of health care professions. While the creation of a joint task force to address this area is imminent, does this not seemingly contradict the charge posted for the PPTF to maintain, enhance, reduce, or eliminate programs?
R: No. The president merely expressed an interest in this possibility and will hold all recommendations of this pending joint task force on health care, until the work of PPTF has been completed. And on a similar note, the administration will also put on hold the work of the TF on Reorganization of Academic Affairs until the PPTF has completed its task.
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 often does the TF meet?
R: The PPTF meets every Friday afternoon—even during Monster Snow Storms—and has scheduled several all-day Friday meetings to maintain the integrity of the posted January 2010–January 2011 Timeline Schedule.
Q: Where can I find the criteria used to define the operational term: “program”?
R: 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/.
Q: A recent rumor has it that “half of our existing programs will be eliminated, especially the more expensive ones.”
R: 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.
Q: What levels of confidentiality govern PPTF deliberations?
R: As posted:
The PPTF will make the review process and all criteria transparent to the campus community. Key elements (such as criteria and program data) will be discussed with programs and community members before recommendations are made. However PPTF discussions, analysis of individual programs, and interim information regarding the committee’s progress on final recommendations will NOT be provided to anyone outside the PPTF. Members of the task force will observe strict confidentiality rules in order to avoid rumors and politicizing. The final written recommendations of the PPTF will be provided to the Provost and President, who will review and then share them with the community. The PPTF welcomes questions and will respond to them to the extent that such responses do not violate confidentiality. Questions, comments, and feedback should be submitted to Program.Prioritization@gallaudet.edu.
Bottom-line: all questions, whether direct or indirect, being presented to members of the PPTF must be re-directed to the co-chairs for final disposition. This practice is in keeping with the principles of transparency, wherein clear and consistent messages are uniformly addressed to the Campus by the PPTF through its designated spokespersons—the co-chairs.