Office of the Provost

Academic Affairs Program Prioritization


Washington State University, as other distinctive, land grant, research institutions of higher education in this country, has a mission of instruction, scholarship and research, and service.  The vision for WSU directs the institution to achieve excellence and pre-eminence in a selected number of areas of scholarship and research while delivering world-class graduate and undergraduate degree programs and making significant contributions to the economic vitality of the State of Washington and beyond.

With few new resources available for investment in strategic priorities, the university must use existing resources in the most efficient manner possible.  In order to increase the efficient use of our limited resources Academic Affairs will prioritize programs to place them on a continuum from investment to phase-out.   This prioritization process will create a roadmap for investment and reallocation over time. 

The prioritization process is being coordinated through the work of two task forces appointed by the Provost.  The Phase I task force, chaired by Drs. Mary Doyle and Ken Casavant, designed the review process.  The Phase II task force, chaired by Drs. Ken Casavant and Larry James, will make university-wide program prioritization recommendations to the Provost by April 15, 2008.

The process for the prioritization of programs in Academic Affairs involves a multi-part assessment.  In preparation, the Phase I Academic Affairs Program Prioritization task force developed a framework to guide the reviews.  The framework consists of an ‘alternative futures’ matrix for the review of Teaching and Learning, Scholarship and Research, and Outreach and Engagement.  A similar matrix was developed for the review of Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories.  The matrix will assist programs in placing themselves on the alternative futures continuum.

A second key element of the framework is a set of criteria to guide the reviews.  The suggested criteria include centrality, cost effectiveness, internal and external demand, impact, productivity, quality and size.  The criteria vary slightly for Teaching and Learning, Scholarship and Research, and Outreach and Engagement.

All areas in Academic Affairs are using the framework developed by the Phase I task force to conduct self-reviews of each of their programs (‘programs’ are determined by the Dean and the Chair or appropriate administrator).  Next, the dean or area administrator will submit to the Provost, program priorities for their college/area along with justification and supporting materials that include the individual program self-reviews. The Provost will forward these materials to the Phase II task force, which posts them in this website and provides them to the deans/area administrators and Faculty Senate.  The Phase II task force will develop its recommendations from the materials and data prepared by Institutional Research considering input from the website, Faculty Senate, and a Program Prioritization Forum that includes the Phase II task force, deans/area administrators, chancellors, and provost. 

The Provost will report results and recommendations to the university community before the end of the Spring 2008 semester.  Implementation of recommendations will begin during FY09 and may extend over a number of years.

Office of the Provost, PO Box 641046, Washington State University, Pullman WA 99164-1046, 509-335-5581, Contact Us