Undergraduate Program Array
When we think about program array, we often think only of majors. However, as an institution, we must expand our thinking and consider our overall program of study to be comprised of disciplines that provide majors, minors, and certificates, along with curriculum that supports the Liberal Education Core and interdisciplinary learning. All of these contributions are important and must be recognized as such. However, we also must recognize that it may not be in the best interest of the institution to offer majors, minors, or certificates in all disciplines. We must develop criteria and a process by which we make decisions regarding the role each discipline will play within the program array.
Quantitative data has a key place in decision making, but in the end, resource allocation decisions must be made by human administrators who are cognizant of the limitations of algorithms developed from the quantitative metrics which we can readily obtain. Whether it is the assessment of faculty workloads or of the "value" of a particular program as part of the university array, individual judgments must be made to continue to fulfill the broader, ethical goals to which this University and higher education in general have long committed themselves to as part of a broader social and civic responsibility.
|Manny Fernandez, et al.|
Program array decisions essentially require a balance between two broad considerations: academic mission and financial responsibility. As a public comprehensive university strategically emphasizing "The Power of [AND]," we seek to offer a diverse array of programs to provide students with opportunities to grow intellectually, synthesize knowledge across disciplines, experiment with new avenues of investigation, and grow in their global and cultural competence. Our students are made stronger by the breadth of their experience, intentionally exposed to all facets of a comprehensive, liberal education-infused program of study. However, in the face of limited financial resources, and the reality that we are increasingly reliant on student tuition to fund the academic enterprise, our program array must be responsive to student interest. We must offer programs that enhance the image and reputation of UW-Eau Claire, are aligned with the mission, values, and strengths of the University, and are attractive and relevant to current and future students.
In addition, as leadership makes decisions based on the two primary considerations of academic mission and financial responsibility, we must also consider the opportunity costs that are part of every decision. With each decision to invest, there is a decision to not invest somewhere else. We must be strategic and transparent in the decisions we make and the implications of those decisions. The question is not simply whether a program contributes to the academic mission of the University. Rather, the analysis needs to recognize the resources consumed in that effort, the number of students benefiting from that resource allocation, the overall benefit to the University, and the alternatives for which those resources could be used.