Overview of the Program Prioritization Committee (PPC)

by Mark Sprague on August 18, 2011

Chancellor Ballard appointed the Program Prioritization Committee (PPC) with Ron Mitchelson as Chair in May 2011.   The PPC membership includes administrators, faculty (including the Chair of the Faculty), and the Chair of the Staff Senate.  The PPC charge is to continue the work of the Educational Planning and Policies Committee (EPPC) on how we should address tight budgets at ECU by recommending criteria that could be used to prioritize programs in case we have to make academic program cuts and by recommending ways to reduce administrative expenses through consolidation of academic units.  The PPC will conduct studies during this academic year with a final report submitted to Chancellor Ballard on April 30, 2012.  The Program Prioritization phase in underway right now, and the Potential Reorganization and Efficiencies phase will begin in January.  (PPC Timeline)

Program Prioritization

The PPC met regularly over the summer and developed a data template for program prioritization based on the recommendations in the Spring 2011 EPPC report.  The template was vetted by the Deans and Directors and presented to the Department Chairs for feedback.  In mid-July the finalized PPC data template in the form of an Excel spreadsheet with associated instructions and definitions was sent to the units for completion.  IPAR, Sedona, and other University data sources prepopulated some of the data fields in the template.  The departments were asked to fill in the rest of the data, to check the prepopulated data for accuracy, and to correct any incorrect data (with justification provided).

The PPC data template consists of a large number (110) of fields in an attempt to quantify contributions made by the varied departments and programs at ECU.  Each field was completed for the 2008-2009, 2009-2010, and 2010-2011 fiscal years (July-June).  In addition to the data spreadsheet, departments were also asked to provide a four-page narrative on Productivity, Centrality, Quality, and Opportunities.  The department reports were submitted to the Deans and the PPC on August 15.

Looking ahead, the PPC will compile the departmental data and send it to the colleges so that they can do self-studies on prioritization.  Drafts of the college self-studies will be made available to the University community on September 30.  Then, the colleges will hold a series of faculty/staff forums about the self-studies.  Input from the forums and other sources will be considered, and the colleges will submit final drafts of their self-studies to the PPC on November 1.

The PPC will use the college self-studies to produce a University Self-Study.  A draft of this report will be released in mid-November, and a series of forums will be held before the final draft of the University Self-Study is released in mid-December.  The PPC final recommendation on Program Prioritization will be presented to Chancellor Ballard on January 16, 2012.

Potential Reorganization and Efficiencies

The PPC will use the University Self-Study document as well as the college self-studies and the departmental PPC reports as input for its recommendations on potential reorganization.  A Reorganization White Paper will be available in mid-February.  The White Paper will present five to seven detailed reorganization scenarios, including the status quo, along with budget savings associated with them.  A series of forums and a campus survey will be held before the PPC releases a draft of its recommendations in a report entitled Structured for Excellence at the end of March 2012.  After a university forum, a final draft of Structured for Excellence will be released on April 23, and the PPC’s final recommendations will be sent to Chancellor Ballard on April 30.

This yearlong PPC process is well underway, but it includes many opportunities for faculty input.  Discuss this in faculty meetings and dean’s forums.  Attend the faculty forums.  Send comments to your Faculty Senator or any of the Faculty Officers.  Send E-mail to the members of the PPC.  Make your voice heard and be sure your concerns are addressed.

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