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Faculty Senate

Handbook

Institutional Procedures and Criteria for Program Redirection,
Reorganization, Reduction and Termination


Approved by Faculty Senate May 7, 1992
Approved by OSU President John V. Byrne May 28, 1992.

GUIDELINES FOR PROGRAM REDIRECTION

PREFACE

In order to maintain a strong university and meet changing needs for university services, a process providing for program reorganization is required. Program reorganization is an appropriate response to opportunities to strengthen university programs, faculty-mandated changes such as revised general education requirements, reduced enrollments, and budgetary crises. A process also is needed in case a state of financial exigency should occur. Academic program reorganization requires faculty consultation, is vital to the health of the University, and should recognize the personal commitments made to the University by faculty, staff, and students. These guidelines delineate procedures for that consultation.

Program reorganization is defined as any plan that proposes either to change the scope of a university academic program so that it is no longer recognizable in its previous form or to restructure or change the mission of an academic unit or an academic support unit so as to the alter relationships within the University. This includes academic programs defined as Category I for curricular approval or those service programs that affect academic programs.

Any administrative actions to redirect budgets follow criteria widely acceptable to the faculty and students at Oregon State University. This document provides a detailed framework for program review and emphasizes the fundamental importance of the University's missions, the primacy of academic programs, and a commitment to academic freedom, tenure, affirmative action, and accountability. When faced with significant budget reductions, reducing programs selectively, however difficult, is preferable to across the board cuts for maintaining overall institutional quality.

UNDERFUNDING SITUATIONS

Three Underfunding situations may exist or be anticipated:

  1. Financial Exigency: According to the Oregon Administrative Rules (Chapter 580, Division 21 - Board of Higher Education), the declaration of a financial exigency which may result in the termination of a tenure faculty member's appointment requires that a prior and bona fide determination be made by the President that sufficient funds are not available for payment of compensation for the position concerned. If the appointment of any academic staff member with or without indefinite tenure is to be terminated because of financial exigency, maximal possible notice shall be provided.

  2. Program or Department Reductions or Eliminations: Program or department reductions or eliminations may be made by the President, upon determination, pursuant to institutional procedures providing for faculty and other input, that such reductions or eliminations are consistent with institutional goals and needs. As in the previous situation, any faculty member can be terminated, but such actions shall reflect a regard for the rights of affected faculty.

    It is recognized that the President is not in control of all these decisions. Even so, those individuals (Chancellor, Board of Higher Education, Legislators, Governor) making budget decisions should use a consultative process.

  3. Other Underfunding Situations: This category includes those underfunding situations where the adjustments do not involve termination of faculty with indefinite tenure. In this case, the underfunding may be less severe and other adjustments, such as layoffs of fixed-term faculty, termination of faculty with annual tenure, not filling vacancies, or encouraging early retirement, are possibilities.

CRITERIA FOR PROGRAM REDUCTION, TERMINATION, AND REORGANIZATION

  1. GENERAL CRITERIA AND PRINCIPLES

    Oregon State University, a university designated as a Land Grant and Sea Grant university, has a unique set of responsibilities for education, research and service. As a comprehensive research university, it encompasses a variety of academic programs, research interests and service functions. Because of its complexity and diversity, a single set of specific criteria will not be applicable to all of its programs and functions. However, common to all of its activities is a commitment to its institutional goals and mission. Also inherent in its diversity is a common commitment to quality. The general principles herein stated are thus fundamental criteria and applicable to all elements of the University:

    1. Basic Mission

      "Oregon State University serves the people of Oregon, the nation and the world through education, research and service.

      Oregon State extends its programs throughout the world, and is committed to providing access and educational opportunities to minorities and to disable and disadvantaged persons.

      Oregon State has an inherent commitment to provide a comprehensive array of high-quality educational programs in the sciences, liberal arts, and selected professions. The University encourages students, both on and off campus, to develop an enriched awareness of themselves and their global environment.

      Through research, Oregon State extends the frontiers of knowledge in the sciences, liberal arts, and in all aspects of natural, human, and economic resources. Oregon State contributes to the intellectual development and the economic and technological advancement of humankind.

      As a Land Grant and Sea Grant university, Oregon State has a special responsibility for education and research enabling the people of Oregon and the world to develop and utilize human, land, atmospheric, and ocean resources. Unique programs of public service throughout Oregon supplement campus-based university teaching and research."

      (From Preparing for the Future: Strategic Planning at Oregon State University.)

      Program reviews must be conducted fully cognizant of this mission. Major reductions of budget support may necessitate review and revision of the mission. This document recognizes that Oregon State University may have a revision of the mission as it is a dynamic document. As a corollary, all programs, support functions and services must contribute to the institutional mission.

    2. Integration and Balance of Mission

      The University is committed to an effective integration of its primary functions of teaching, research and service. The University community supports the thesis that the quality of instruction and service is enhanced when faculty also are engaged in research and scholarship. Therefore, an appropriate balance of teaching, research and service should be maintained within the major academic units and the University-at-large.

    3. Primacy of Academic Programs

      Academic programs exist for the purpose of fulfilling the primary missions of extending our knowledge base, providing teaching and an environment for learning and encouraging service. Primacy should, therefore, be accorded to maintaining and enhancing the quality of academic programs through talented faculty, well-qualified students, and dedicated staff. Certain disciplines are central to all universities and provide the foundation for overall strength of university programs.

    4. Necessity of Support Programs

      To fully and effectively utilize its human resources and achieve its mission, the University must provide the necessary physical facilities and resources including building, laboratories and equipment. However, in times of budget revision, scrutiny of all opportunities to increasing efficiency must be considered, including such things as building closure and elimination of high-cost maintenance equipment.

      Strong academic programs depend upon effective and efficient support functions to achieve the primary mission of the University. The evaluation of support programs should, therefore, be based primarily upon how they contribute to the performance and strength of academic programs.

    5. Academic Freedom and Tenure

      A great university must support the principles of tenure and academic freedom. They help create a climate which engenders creative thought and unbridled expression. They serve the University by ensuring an environment necessary to attract and retain the best available faculty.

      Program reviews and subsequent reductions or eliminations must not abrogate the principles of tenure, academic freedom or due process which are essential to the stability, integrity and excellence of the institution.

    6. Affirmative Action

      Oregon State University has a demonstrable commitment to affirmative action and educational opportunity with particular focus on ethnic minorities and women. Consistent with the principles of the long-range plan, this commitment should not be compromised by economic pressures.

    7. Accountability

      Oregon State University, as a publicly assisted institution, has the obligation to manage its activities effectively and efficiently. Efficiency in this context should be gauged relative to the nature of the missions to be performed and should not be used to justify reductions in the quality of the University's functions. The University must not compromise its commitment to excellence and strong academic programs.

    8. Uniqueness and Duplication

      Program reviews must be made in the context of the University's mission and specific goals. The concerns about program duplication must recognize the interrelatedness of university programs and the necessity of balance in a comprehensive research university. In general, programs central to all universities and those unique to OSU should receive a high priority for continuation.

    9. Relationship with the State and Society-at-Large

      The University must enjoy a close relationship with the State of Oregon and the larger society it serves. Indeed, the maintenance of OSU's excellence enhances the overall quality of life within society-at-large. However, the emergence of a body of knowledge and new ideas should not be determined by the availability of external resources or the demands of clients. The University must retain its autonomy and the capacity to act as a constructive force within the society it serves.

  2. CRITERIA FOR ACADEMIC PROGRAMS

    Two alternative types of actions will be considered in review of academic programs. These are: 1) reduction or termination of existing programs; and 2) reorganization and consolidation of existing programs. Though these measures are not entirely mutually exclusive, they are sufficiently distinct in character to require differing sets of criteria to control their application. Thus, criteria set forth for academic programs are presented in two categories: reduction/termination, and restructuring. It may be appropriate to consider a given program in each category or in only one.

    A number of criteria, both positive and negative, are included in each category. Given a great diversity of academic programs, the stated criteria will not include all considerations that may be applicable to individual programs. It is understood that such additional considerations are not rendered irrelevant by their omission and may, therefore, be considered. It also should not be assumed that every stated criterion is of equal weight, or that a program will be "scored" by the algebraic addition of its positive and negative features. Rather, the "negative" criteria listed in each section are intended as indicators of programs that may be appropriate for review. The criteria should be cited to support any suggestion of program modification. The "positive" criteria, by contrast, are of critical relevance to ultimate decisions as to which programs will be formally considered for modification. Many of these latter criteria are partially or substantially subjective in character, and the balancing of these factors will involve value assumptions and policy choices. These balances will be finally struck and policy choices made at the campus level only after opportunity to address them has been afforded all interested persons in accordance with established OSU and OSSHE procedures.

    1. Definition of Program

      The unit of review for these criteria is a "program." A program is a unit, which has one or more of the following characteristics:

      • has the word "College, " "School," "Department," " Center," "Office," "Institute," "Station," "Division," "Council," "Service," "Program," "major," "minor," or "option" as a part of its title;

      • is headed by a person entitled "dean," "director," "chair," "head," "coordinator," "manager," "superintendent," or "leader;"

      • is identified as a degree or certificate program in OSSHE listing of OSU programs;

      • offers a degree, a certificate, or a credential;

      • has a sequence of specific academic requirements;

      • is an established distinct academic option or track within a large unit;

      • has been approved as a distinct function or activity of OSU by the OSBHE.

    2. Criteria for Reduction or Termination

      The following criteria will be applied in determining whether to recommend that a program be reduced. The criteria under 1) will be used to assist in identifying programs in which reductions may be feasible. The criteria under 2) and 3) will then be considered in determining which programs should not be recommended for reduction or elimination.

      1. Criteria Supporting Reduction (Including Possible Termination)

        1. The program's contribution to the OSU missions of teaching, research, and service does not justify maintenance of its present size.

        2. The program is significantly larger than such programs found in OSU's comparator institutions.

        3. The program is one that if reduced will not substantially impair the viability or quality of other OSU programs.

        4. The program is one that normally would be expected to be accredited but is not; or one which is exposed to a substantial risk of loss of accreditation. If the program is not appropriate for accreditation, the program has been deemed to be of a level of quality or size that raises questions concerning its viability or continuation.

        5. The program is one for which the present and probable future demand is insufficient to justify its maintenance at existing levels of support. Insufficient demand may be indicated by significant decline in one or more of the areas over a protracted period:

          1. in the number of completed applications for admission to the program;

          2. in the student credit hours generated in lower division, upper division, and/or graduate level courses in the program;

          3. in the number of students who complete majors or degrees in the program;

          4. for instructional programs designed to prepare graduates for specific employment, the market demand for graduates of the program;

          5. in the case of support and service programs, the level of demand for the service provided;

          6. in the case of research programs, the level of research being conducted or the level of funding for the program.

        6. The program's productivity relative to the University's investment in faculty, staff, equipment, facilities, or other resources has declined significantly without demonstrable enhancement of quality or redirection to other aspects of OSU's overall mission.

          1. In the case of instructional programs, the following may be considered to indicate a significant decline in productivity:

            The average credit hours of lower division, upper division or graduate level courses taught per full time equivalent faculty declined significantly over the past five years relative to OSU enrollment trends, and are at their present levels below those prevailing in such programs at OSU's comparator institutions.

          2. In the case of non-instructional programs, productivity shall, where possible, be measured in terms of units of output appropriate to the unit's mission.

        7. The instructional productivity of a program is substantially less than the average for OSU as a whole. The level of instructional and, where relevant, the mode of instruction appropriate to the program shall be considered, including particularly the average number of contact hours carried by the faculty.

      2. Criteria Contraindicating Reduction

        1. The program's nature is such that reduction would impair the critical mass necessary to have adequate quality.

        2. The program cannot be reduced without a substantial risk to accreditation.

        3. Current projections indicate that demand for the program or its graduates will increase substantially within the next five years.

        4. Scholarly research or creative activity of the faculty within this program, as shown by publications, creative production, honors and awards, external funding, or other objective measure, is higher than that of the institution as a whole.

      3. Criteria Contraindicating Elimination

        1. The program is one that objective evaluation indicates has achieved a national or international reputation for exceptional quality.

        2. The program supplies significant instruction, research, or service that OSU is better equipped to supply than other organizations.

        3. The program exists as a result of legislative statute.

        4. The program is the only one of its kind within the state of Oregon or the region.

        5. The program is an essential program for every university.

        6. The program's elimination would have a substantially negative impact on education and societal concerns to Oregon.

        7. The program's elimination would result in substantial loss of revenue currently derived from grants, contracts, endowments or gifts.

        8. The program's cost is minimal relative to the tuition or other income generated by it.

        9. The program represents a substantial capital investment in specialized physical plant or equipment that could not be effectively redirected to alternative uses.

        10. The program is one characteristically staffed by members of groups protected by affirmative action.

    3. Criteria for Reorganization, Consolidation, or Restructuring

      1. Criteria Supporting Reorganization

        1. Two or more programs have a substantial similarity or affinity of objective such that economics of operation or improvement in quality may reasonably be expected from their consolidation.

        2. The clarity of the program's identity and function will be increased by transfer to or consolidation with another program.

        3. The nature and function of the program is such that its support might appropriately be transferred in whole or part to grant, contract, user fees, or other state agencies.

      2. Criteria Contraindicating Reorganization

        1. The consolidation or transfer is sufficiently uncommon within American higher education so as to render recruitment and retention of quality students and faculty difficult.

        2. The consolidation or restructuring would endanger the quality and/or accreditation status, where applicable, of one or more of the programs affected.

        3. The programs, though dealing with similar subject matter, are substantially different in orientation, objective, or clientele.

        4. The cost reduction of consolidation or transfer would be so modest as to make such reorganization rather pointless.

  3. CRITERIA FOR ADMINISTRATIVE AND SUPPORT SERVICES

    Any decision to reduce, terminate, or consolidate programs should be subject to central review because of the possible impact of such action on another unit. Reductions, terminations, or reorganizations made with no recognition of quality or psychological impact can be detrimental to the University, and therefore to the success of academic programs.

    Types of actions to be considered in the review of students, academic, and administrative support programs include reduction or termination of existing programs and/or reorganization and consolidation. Criteria to be used as the basis of decision making in these areas may differ among units, but the following general guidelines are suggested for use in the overall review.

    1. Criteria for Termination, Reduction, or Reorganization

      1. Opportunities for significant cost reduction for similar or higher levels and quality of essential service(s) through:

        • reorganization/restructuring of service units and programs.

        • purchase of services at lower cost from external providers; or obtaining them at no cost through partnerships with the private sector.

        • substitution of services that meet university needs, but at lower costs.

      2. Redundancy of service(s): functions provided by other administrative units or levels within OSU, OSSHE, or state government with no net additional cost.

      3. Demand by faculty, students, or administration for the services is modest or low.

      4. Service(s) are determined to be less essential for the performance and strength of Oregon State University academic programs.

      5. Other methods.

    2. Criteria Contraindicating Termination, Reduction, or Reorganization

      1. Similar essential service(s) otherwise unavailable.
      2. Similar essential service(s) available from alternative providers only at increased cost or at great inconvenience to users.
      3. Service available from alternative providers is inferior in quality or level of service provided.
      4. Support service is interdependent with and directly supportive of academic functions.
      5. Service and support activity is mandated by federal or state statute, funding agency regulations, or administrative rules and regulation of OSSHE.
      6. Support service is essentially self-supporting, resulting in limited opportunity for significant budget saving.
      7. Cost to the University in public support and image is, in the President's view, greater than the monetary savings incurred.
      8. Reduction or termination of the support service would transfer responsibility to another unit without a significant overall cost savings.
      9. Support service generates income whose loss would be detrimental to the University.
      10. The nature and function of the program is such that its support might appropriately be transferred in whole or part to grant, contract, user fees, or other state agencies.
PROCEDURES FOR FACULTY INPUT

RATIONALE FOR FACULTY CONSULTATION

The involvement of faculty at all organizational levels in the long-range planning and decision-making process in the redirection of programs has a strong base in managerial and organizational theory. It also represents sound academic practice consistent with standards set by AAUP and other professional organizations. Another important aspect, of course, is morale. Rumors and misinformation can be a deterrent to productivity.

Oregon Administrative Rule 580-21-315 requires that "program or department reductions or eliminations may be made by the President, upon determination, pursuant to institutional procedures providing for faculty and other appropriate input, that such reductions or eliminations are consistent with institutional goals and needs."

Further, the Rules require that such consultation by the President with the Faculty be pursuant to institutional procedures. These guidelines outline such procedures.

The Bylaws of the Faculty Senate indicate that one of the objectives of the Senate is to "provide the means by which the administration may be apprised of representative opinion of the entire faculty." Furthermore, the Senate is to "provide the means through which any matter of general interest to the faculty, or pertaining to the institution and its purpose may be brought to the Faculty Senate for discussion and appropriate action."

The Faculty Senate also has a specific role to play regarding the redirection, reduction or elimination of programs or departments. The President, according to the Oregon Administrative Rules, can make these redirections, reductions or eliminations if they are determined to be consistent with institutional goals and needs. In its Bylaws, the Faculty Senate has a role to "determine and establish the purposes of Oregon State University, formulate and evaluate policies and activities in harmony with these purposes."

PROCEDURES

A proposal to declare financial exigency and/or a proposal to reduce or eliminate a specific program or department should be presented in confidence by the University President or Provost to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee. Such proposals will be made only when the administration believes it has exhausted other possibilities. State Board and university procedures will be followed.

As much time as possible should be allowed for such consultation. Thoughtful consideration of financial and/or resource deficits and appropriate faculty input, as required by Oregon Administrative Rules, require adequate time. Since State and/or university financial and resource problems usually arise over extended periods, solutions to these problems should be developed and faculty advice solicited before the problems become crises. This advice and comparison to the criteria should take place at all levels of program implementation.

With all administration proposals to declare financial exigency or eliminate programs, the Executive Committee of the Faculty Senate shall convene a special Ad Hoc Faculty Consultative Group (FCG). The Faculty Consultative Group shall consist of the Executive Committee and the Chair of each of the following Faculty Senate Standing Committees: Budgets and Fiscal Planning, Curriculum Council, and Faculty Status. When designated individuals from these committees are unavailable, replacements should be made from among the membership of those designated standing committees. The Chair of the Ad Hoc Group shall be the President of the Faculty Senate or, in that person's absence, the President-Elect.

The form of consultation shall be to describe and to discuss fully the magnitude of the financial distress, and to analyze options available for resolution of the problem. The presentation should be made at the earliest mutually convenient time and place to allow reasonable opportunity for the Group to offer constructive suggestions and comments, and to obtain an appropriate spectrum of faculty input and expertise. If initial proposals arise out of the Colleges, then the procedures should specify that faculty in affected programs participated in discussions within the Colleges. However, If there is no assurance that faculty have had input in discussing and setting priorities for cuts and redirection at the College level, then the FCG must have the opportunity to solicit faculty and other input from affected units or programs.

The specific criteria used for program reduction and/or redirection must be fully articulated with respect to each reduction or redirection. That is to say, it must be clearly demonstrated that proposed program reductions or redirections clearly fall within the specified criteria.

Any plan for reorganization will include discussion of and will seek provisions for reassigning, reemploying, and/or retraining faculty and staff whose positions are eliminated or altered by reorganization. Any reduction of positions will be handled in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Higher Education. The University administration will act in good faith and diligently seek out and attempt to place the affected faculty member in an alternate position on the University.

The Faculty Consultative Group assessment of the impacts of the proposed program reorganization will be reported to the Administration as directed by the Executive Committee.

The University President or Provost should indicate to the Executive Committee when a report to him or her should be made by the Faculty Consultative Group. The Group should allow sufficient time for the University President to consider the suggestions of the Faculty before declaring Financial Exigency or the need for program or department redirection, reduction or elimination.

In making the above recommendation, the Faculty Senate has taken into consideration the need for timely involvement of the Faculty. The Faculty Consultative Group, as designated, could be convened in a matter of hours, and should be able to begin work rapidly to provide the University President or Provost adequate consultation.

PROCEDURES FOR INPUT FROM A COUNCIL OF ACADEMIC ADMINISTRATORS

A proposal to declare financial exigency and/or a proposal to reduce or eliminate a specific program or department should be presented in confidence by the University President or Provost to a Council of Academic Administrators (CAA), which shall include the deans of the academic colleges and such other administrators as the President and/or the Provost designates. Such proposals will be made only when the administration believes it has exhausted other possibilities. State Board and university procedures will be followed. As much time as possible should be allowed for such consultation.

Membership in the CAA shall be limited to the designated principals. The Chair of the CAA shall be the senior academic dean from point of service as a dean at OSU or, in that person's absence, the next most senior academic dean.

The form of consultation, as with the Faculty Consultative Group, shall be to describe and to discuss fully the magnitude of the financial distress, and to analyze options available for resolution of the problem. The presentation should be made at the earliest mutually convenient time and place to allow reasonable opportunity for the CAA to confidentially offer constructive suggestions and comments, and to obtain appropriate input. To the extent that initial proposals arise from within an affected College, the CAA can be bound to confidentiality. However, if proposals have arisen from outside the College potentially affected, members of the CAA must have the opportunity to solicit faculty an other input from affected units or programs.

The specific criteria used for program reduction and/or redirection must be fully articulated with respect to each reduction or redirection. That is to say, it must be clearly demonstrated that proposed program reductions or redirections clearly fall within the specified criteria.

Any plan for reorganization will include discussion of and will seek provisions for reassigning, reemploying, and/or retraining faculty and staff whose positions are eliminated or altered by reorganization. Any reduction of positions will be handled in accordance with the rules of the State Board of Higher Education.

The CAA's assessment of the impacts of the proposed program reorganization will be reported to the Administration. The University President or Provost should indicate a reporting deadline that allows sufficient time for subsequent discussions with the CAA before declaring Financial Exigency or the need for programs or department redirection, reduction or elimination.

In making the above recommendations for the creation of the CAA, the need for timely involvement of such academic administrators has been considered. The CAA as designated, could be convened in a matter of hours, and should be able to begin work rapidly to provide the University President or Provost adequate consultation.

This document combines "Guidelines for Program Redirection" (5/5/88) and "Criteria for Program Reduction, Termination, and Reorganization" (6/10/88)