As a public comprehensive university, graduate programs are an important aspect of our overall program array. Both the 2008-2016 Centennial plan "Transforming our Future" and the new strategic plan "Creating our Future: UW-Eau Claire Strategic Plan 2016-2020" (link to strategic plan here) assert our University vision to provide distinctive, select graduate programs.
As with the undergraduate program array, graduate programs must enhance the image and reputation of the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire (UW-Eau Claire), be aligned with the mission, values, and strengths of the University, and be attractive and relevant to current and future students. We must set forth the principles by which we will decide which graduate programs to maintain, to modify, to eliminate, and to initiate.
Distinctive, select graduate programs at UW-Eau Claire must meet three criteria.
- First, each graduate program must address the broader needs of the region and state. The program could respond to these needs by developing appropriately credentialed individuals to fill a key employment shortage, or the program could provide a credential to meet the requirement for initial licensure and employment. The program might also provide individuals with additional skills and knowledge to unlock opportunities for advancement in their current career field. In any event, all graduate programs need to make a clear case for how they fulfill a specific need.
- Second, graduate programs must build on or enhance strengths of the undergraduate programs and contribute to the overall reputation of the University. Because we are primarily an undergraduate institution, it is necessary that our graduate programs connect to and grow from the strengths of our undergraduate curriculum. These connections allow faculty to teach at both the undergraduate and graduate levels and provide opportunities for the efficient delivery of streamlined 4+1 or 3+2 degree programs.
- Third, graduate programs must demonstrate financial sustainability by generating a stable revenue stream to cover program expenses.
To fully meet our goals, graduate programming needs to be a shared endeavor across the entire campus. This does not mean that every program on campus should or can have a graduate program; however, as we decide which graduate programs to enhance, which to phase out, and which to initiate, these conversations must take place within the overall context of the University mission and vision. We must change processes, procedures, and structures to more fully integrate graduate programs into the overall University and help those programs to operate more effectively and efficiently.
Priorities and actions: Graduate program array
Evaluate and revise the graduate program array.
- Conduct a comprehensive review of all graduate programs
- Academic Affairs will review all graduate programs using the criteria highlighted below.
- Graduate programs will be invited to respond to the review.
- Academic Affairs will make one of the following recommendations, using shared governance processes where appropriate:
- Continuation of the program as is, subject to usual program review procedures and timelines.
- Revision of the program to more directly address the three criteria above.
- Elimination of the program.
- Growth of the program to meet market demand.
- Apply the following criteria in the review:
- Response to regional market needs: Does the program provide a post-baccalaureate credential for initial licensure or employment? Does it meet a shortage area? Does the program meet the broader needs of the region?
- Strategic value of the program: Does the graduate program build on a strength in the undergraduate program array? Does it enhance the campus reputation in a manner that attracts students to campus? Is the program crucial to the mission and vision of the University? Could the mission and vision be equally or better advanced by re-allocating resources elsewhere?
- Financial sustainability of the program: What level of faculty and financial resources are expended, relative to the number of students served? What courses, particularly low enrollment courses, do we need to offer in order to maintain the program? Does the program provide a significant and stable revenue stream?
- Utilize the program review process to identify opportunities for continuous improvement and program modernization.
- Explore new opportunities for graduate programs that are financially sustainable, respond to market needs, and enhance the current strengths and reputation of the University.
Revamp infrastructure, policies, and procedures to better support graduate programming.
- Examine and assess the University's reliance on UW-Eau Claire Continuing Education and UW System Extension for funding and marketing graduate programs.
- Eliminate the Graduate Council and use the Academic Policies Committee to review and align undergraduate and graduate policies and procedures.
- Support graduate faculty with professional development focused specifically on graduate teaching such as best practices, adult learners, and cross-curricular opportunities.
- Streamline graduate admissions process to support increased enrollment.