Institutional Policy and Procedures for Program Reorganization or Elimination
Approved by Faculty Senate November 11, 2004.
Approved by OSU President Edward Ray March 9, 2005.
As Oregon State University strives to become one of the top ten land-grant
universities, it must also adjust to changes in funding and the needs of
its stakeholders. Reorganization and elimination of programs may be needed
as the University attempts to balance priorities with resources. In extreme
cases, financial exigency may be declared by the President and involve all
of the University's programs.
This document states the general principles and procedures that guide any reorganization
or elimination of a program at the University. (See Appendix A for definitions of Program.)
These guidelines are designed primarily for actions that result in reduction or elimination
of a tenured or tenure-track faculty member's position; however, it is recognized that a
program reorganization or elimination will have broader impacts on the institution, and
these guidelines may be applied to evaluation of these broader impacts as well. Because
circumstances may vary widely from case to case, this document is neither detailed nor
exhaustive, but is intended to provide a roadmap for process. The general principles and
procedures are meant to affirm the University's commitment to tenure, academic freedom,
affirmative action, and accountability; to assure faculty members that their concerns and
ideas are incorporated to the extent possible as decisions are made; and to ensure that
the overall quality of University programs is maintained as a reorganization takes place.
Reorganization and elimination of programs will be determined through shared
governance. Shared governance recognizes the necessity of faculty input and
knowledge in academic decision making. The faculty's involvement is provided
for in the Oregon Administrative Rules, OAR 580-021-0315 (Appendix B), and
affirmed in the Faculty Senate Bylaws. This document describes OSU's process
for faculty consultation required by these rules.
Primary responsibility for ensuring appropriate consultation with the faculty rests with
the Faculty Consultative Group (FCG), a standing committee of the Faculty Senate, and
the Provost. Responsibility for final decisions, after appropriate consultation with
the faculty, rests with the President.
As the initial step, the FCG and the University administrators will endeavor to reach
consensus on the participants in the deliberations, the process to be followed, and
the timing of the decisions. The review process will include consideration of applicable
factors including, but not limited to:
- detailed definition of the program(s) involved;
- the scope of the review, that is, the list of potential impacts that will be considered;
- criteria used for selection of programs for review and evaluation;
- procedures for review including involvement of affected faculty members;
measures to be taken to find suitable alternative responsibilities at
the University for tenured (and, to the degree possible, tenure-track)
faculty members who are displaced by a program reorganization or elimination,
and a commitment to notice provisions in Oregon Administrative Rules,
- timing for implementation of any decisions;
format and timing for communicating the results of the review, including
the public announcements and release of reports.
If the University administrators and the FCG cannot reach a consensus on these points,
the FCG will formally note its opposition and may decide not to participate in evaluation
of the proposed reorganization or elimination. In the case that the FCG decides not to
participate, the Provost will assume responsibility for ensuring appropriate consultation
with the faculty as required by the OAR.
The review process will be initiated sufficiently early that meaningful input is possible.
The review process may be initiated at the request of either the FCG or the
Provost. A faculty member potentially affected by a contemplated program
reorganization or elimination may also request the FCG to initiate a review.
The FCG, after consulting with the Provost and while bearing in mind that it
is not intended to function as a personnel or grievance committee, may accept
the request or decline it. The FCG will explain the rationale for its decision.
It is recognized that not all parties will necessarily agree with all
decisions. However, it is the goal of this process that all parties will
agree that they have had adequate opportunity to present their views early
enough in the process to be fairly considered as decisions are made.
The Faculty Consultative Group (FCG) will represent the faculty to work
toward a consensus with the University administrators on the seven items
noted above. The FCG consists of the Faculty Senate Executive Committee,
and the Chairs of the Faculty Senate Curriculum Council, Budgets and Fiscal
Planning Committee,Graduate Council and Faculty Status Committee. The Faculty Senate President
chairs the FCG. The Faculty Senate President and the Provost will cooperate
to determine when to convene meetings of the FCG and who may participate.
All FCG meetings are confidential and rest upon the trust established between
the members of the FCG and the Provost. A final report of the FCG will be
available to the University faculty.
As required by Oregon Administrative Rules, it is vital that the FCG engage
in the reorganization or elimination discussions as soon as potential changes
are identified as serious possibilities. While the FCG needs the flexibility
and time to investigate situations brought before it in order to attain
adequate understanding of the issue, it is expected that the FCG will act
on a request within a time frame that is consistent with university and
external constraints defining the context for change.
The FCG, after having advised the Provost of the general nature of its
intentions but while preserving confidentiality as appropriate, may contact
any faculty member or administrator to discuss a potential reorganization
or elimination of a program.
Two alternative types of actions will be considered in review of academic
programs: (1) reorganization of existing programs and (2) elimination 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. It may be
appropriate to consider a given program in each category or in only one.
Criteria supporting and contraindicating reorganization and elimination
are given in Appendices C and D.
The FCG's written recommendations, including an assessment of the positive
and negative impacts of the proposed reorganization or elimination, will be
reported to the Provost and President within one week after the FCG has
finished evaluating the options for reorganization or elimination. When
the President reaches a decision and announces the decision campus-wide,
the FCG report, with the exception of confidential information, will also
be released campus-wide.
This policy will be reviewed at least every three years. The President Elect will
lead the policy review, with a subcommittee appointed by the Executive Committee.
The results of the policy review will be discussed with the Executive Committee and the Faculty Senate.
Final approval of any proposed revisions recommended by the Faculty Senate rests with the President.
Appendix A. Definition of Program
A program 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 titled "dean," "director," "chair," "head," "coordinator,"
"manager," "superintendent," or "leader;"
- is identified as a degree or certificate program in the OUS 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 larger unit;
has been approved as a distinct function or activity of the University by the Oregon
State Board of Higher Education.
Appendix B. OAR 580-021-0315
Termination Not for Cause
Termination not for cause is defined as any termination other than for cause as set forth in OAR 580-021-0320:
Staff Members with Indefinite Tenure:
The appointment of an academic staff member with indefinite tenure will
not be terminated for reasons other than for cause, except for financial
exigency or program or department reductions or eliminations. Before the
appointment of any academic staff member on indefinite tenure can be
terminated for financial exigency, a bona fide determination will be
made by the president that a financial exigency does exist, and that
sufficient funds are not available for payment of compensation for the
position concerned. 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;
Responsibility for the decision as to whether a state of financial
exigency exists, and the subsequent decision on actions necessary to
meet the financial exigency, or the decision as to the necessity for
program or department reductions or eliminations resulting in
termination of employment of tenured faculty, shall rest with
the president. In considering such matters, the president shall
confer in a timely manner with appropriate faculty and other
institutional councils and with the Chancellor and the Board
concerning the issues involved in arriving at decisions in the
Institutional procedures relating to program or department reductions
or eliminations shall reflect a regard for the rights of the affected
academic staff member, and such procedures may not be used as a
substitute for the provisions of OAR 580-021-0325 through 580-021-0385
that set forth the procedural protections to be accorded staff members;
If a tenured faculty member's appointment is terminated or if the
appointment of a nontenured faculty member is terminated before the
end of the period of appointment because of financial exigency, or
because of program or department reductions or eliminations, the released
faculty member's place will not be filled by a replacement within a
period of two years, unless the released faculty member has been
offered reappointment and a reasonable time within which to accept or
If the staff member cannot be retained either in the position in
which presently employed or in some alternate position, maximum
possible notice of termination shall be provided the academic staff
member being terminated for financial exigency, and in the case of
faculty terminated because of program or department reductions or
eliminations not demonstrably related to a state of financial
exigency, 12 months' notice shall be given.
Staff Members without Indefinite Tenure. Appropriate notice of termination
shall be provided staff members holding annual tenure appointments as set
forth in OAR 580-021-0305. If the employment of such staff member is being
terminated for financial exigency or program or department reductions or
eliminations so as to render impossible the provision of notice as set
forth in OAR 580-021-0305, maximum possible notice will be provided.
Stat. Auth.: ORS 351.070
Stats. Implemented: ORS 351.070
Hist.: HEB 3-1978, f. & ef. 6-5-78; HEB 1-1993, f.
& cert. ef. 2-5-93; HEB 5-1996, f. & cert. ef. 12-18-96
Appendix C. Criteria for Reorganization
Criteria Supporting Reorganization
- On a national or international level, the profession or discipline has changed.
- Reorganization will better serve the strategic focus of OSU.
- The proposed reorganization provides a competitive advantage to the unit.
- The viability of the unit is at risk without refocus of direction.
The program's scope is too narrowly focused and needs broader, perhaps
interdisciplinary, focus or conversely the program scope is too broadly
focused and needs tighter focus.
Two or more programs have a substantial similarity or affinity of objectives
such that economics of operation or improvement in quality may reasonably be
expected from their consolidation.
The clarity of the program's identity and function will be increased by
transfer to or consolidation with another program.
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.
The program's contribution to the OSU missions of teaching, research,
and service does not justify maintenance of its present size.
The program is significantly larger than such programs found in OSU's
The program is one that if reduced will not substantially impair the
viability or quality of other OSU programs.
Budgetary constraints require reorganization of a program within a
department, school, or college.
Criteria Contraindicating Reorganization
- The reorganization is sufficiently uncommon within higher education so as to render difficulty in recruitment and retention of quality students and faculty.
- The reorganization would endanger the quality and/or accreditation status, where applicable, of one or more of the programs affected.
- The programs, though dealing with similar subject matter, are substantially different in orientation, objective or clientele.
- The cost reduction of reorganization would be so modest as to make such reorganization rather pointless if cost savings is the primary objective.
- The program's reorganization would have a substantially negative impact on education and societal concerns to Oregon.
- The program's reorganization would have a substantially negative impact on strategic goals of OSU.
- The program's reorganization would result in substantial loss of revenue currently derived from grants, contracts, endowments or gifts.
Appendix D. Criteria for Elimination
Criteria Supporting Elimination
The program is one that if eliminated will not substantially
impair the viability or quality of other OSU programs.
The program is one that normally would be expected to be accredited but
is not; or one that 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.
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:
- in the number of completed applications for admission to the program;
in the student credit hours generated in lower division,
upper division, and/or graduate level courses in the program;
in the number of students who complete majors or degrees in the program;
for instructional programs designed to prepare graduates for specific
employment, the market demand for graduates of the program;
in the case of support and service programs, the level of demand
for the service provided;
in the case of research programs, the level of research being
conducted or the level of funding for the program.
The program's productivity relative to the University's investment in faculty,
staff, equipment, facilities, or other resources have declined significantly
without demonstrable enhancement of quality or redirection to other aspects
of OSU's overall mission.
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.
In the case of non-instructional programs, productivity shall
be measured in terms of units of output appropriate to the
The instructional productivity of a program is substantially less than the
average for OSU as a whole. The level of instruction 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.
Budgetary constraints require reorganization of a
program within a department, school, or college.
Criteria Contraindicating Elimination
The program is one that objective evaluation indicates has achieved a
national or international reputation for exceptional quality.
The program supplies significant instruction, research, or service that
OSU is better equipped to supply than other organizations.
The program exists as a result of legislative statute.
The program is the only one of its kind within the State of Oregon or the region and is part of the future as well as part of the past.
The program is an essential program for every university.
The program's elimination would have a substantially negative impact on education and societal concerns to Oregon.
The program's elimination would result in substantial loss of revenue currently derived from grants, contracts, endowments or gifts.
The program's cost is minimal relative to the tuition or other income generated by it.
The program represents a substantial capital investment in specialized physical plant or equipment that could not be effectively redirected to alternative uses.
The program is one characteristically staffed by members of groups covered by affirmative action.