Academic Programs Committee ReportsProgram Termination Procedure
at the University of Saskatchewan
Approved by Council April 19, 2001
The Planning Committee of Council recommends approval of the following motion:
That Council approve the Program Termination Procedure as described below. This procedure requires:
1. Programs are to be considered for termination based only on recommendations from Colleges, from the President, or from outcomes of the Systematic Program Review process (Category C programs whose action plans are not approved, and Category D programs), and
2. The Planning Committee is to receive advice from the Program Termination Subcommittee, as described in this policy, before it makes recommendations about terminations to Council.
The University of Saskatchewan has adopted a process for reviewing programs (Systematic Program Review) and has undergone a process for identifying some of the new programs which are deserving of resources (Priority Determination Process). A systematic approach to decisions on the elimination of programs (Program Termination Procedure) can now be developed.
The University of Saskatchewan Act (1995) gives Council the following authority:
61 (1) (e) where it considers it appropriate on academic grounds, authorize the board to provide for . . .
(ii) the disestablishment of any college, school, department, chair, endowed chair or institute . . . [and]
(f) prescribe curricula, programs of instruction, and courses of study in colleges, schools or departments.
The Board of Governors has the authority to:
49 (1) (l) provide for the disestablishment of any college, school, department, chair, endowed chair or instituteThe need to develop a procedure which is perceived as fair and objective for program termination at the University of Saskatchewan has been apparent for some time. Occasionally, discussion has taken place about the kind of procedure that would be both academically justifiable and effective, and would reflect the natural evolution of university programs.
(i) if authorized by the council on academic grounds; or
(ii) subject to subsections (2) and (3), if the board considers it necessary because of financial exigency. [Subsections 2 and 3 require consultation with council on such a decision.]
A Framework for Planning at the University of Saskatchewan (approved by Council in 1998) identified a program termination procedure as one of three high priority strategies to support the University's goals.
At the University of Saskatchewan there is a strong feeling that Deans, Department Heads, and faculty members require guidelines that will assist them in discontinuing programs for which demand is consistently low and in which the quality of teaching, service or research has declined. Safeguards will be necessary, and the interests of students and faculty must be given high priority, but for the sake of its own commitment to academic quality, it is now necessary to establish open and transparent means by which the University can systematically withdraw resources from programs that can no longer contribute satisfactorily to the mission of the institution.
By including a program termination procedure as one of the three major strategies, the Planning Committee and Council acknowledged that the process of setting priorities and re-allocating resources must begin.
III. Principles of the Program Termination Procedure
University Council has approved two documents which provide the basis for establishing principles for program termination.
The Framework for Planning identifies three principles to guide decisions. These are that the University of Saskatchewan:
A number of criteria are listed for program evaluation in A Framework for the Evaluation of Academic Programs (1996). These criteria require that academic programs should:
- must be autonomous
- must be driven by considerations of quality
- must be accountable.
and the criteria state it is important to consider:
- be of high quality
- be in demand by students and the public
- use resources efficiently
Also to be kept in mind are our commitment to fair and equitable access to our programs, to equity, to environmental responsibility, and to an international perspective.
- the unique features of a program
- the relevance of the program to Saskatchewan
Based on these documents, the Planning Committee has developed the following set of guidelines for the Program Termination procedure:
1. Fair and objective procedures will be used. The decision to delete a program should be fair and objective. The procedure should be fair to faculty whose careers may be affected; fair to students who may want to study in this area; fair to other programs which may require courses in this area; fair in terms of the universityï¿½s obligations to the province and the nation; objective in its evaluation of all aspects of the program; and objective in its assessment of the academic value of the program to the institution. With Systematic Program Review, the University now has an objective, armï¿½s-length process to review programs.
2. Recommendations for deletions can be considered only if they originate from recognized university authorities. Programs will be considered for termination only when based on recommendations from colleges, from the President, and from outcomes of the Systematic Program Review procedure (see the description of SPR assessment categories in Attachment III.) We expect most termination proposals will come from colleges or from Systematic Program Review, but we recognize that the President may initiate a request for termination. All terminations, however originated, will follow the same program termination procedure described below.
3. Programs are covered under the procedure. A program is a generally defined set of courses to be taken by a student to obtain a specific academic outcome, such as a degree, certificate, diploma, or other recognized qualification. A program generally covers a Field of Specialization (for example, History, Agricultural Economics, Rural and Urban Development, Nursing, etc) and may be offered at various Levels of Concentration (minor, major, honours in undergraduate programs; thesis and non-thesis in graduate programs).
The programs covered by the Program Termination procedure are those listed in Systematic Program Review. Termination of a Field of Specialization requires review through the Program Termination procedure. Termination of a Level of Concentration within a graduate or undergraduate program does NOT require review through the Program Termination procedure. It would be handled through the usual submission to the Academic Programs Committee.
Department and program mergers, and program replacements, are more problematic. Some mergers are administrative only; other times a merger does result in the deletion of a Field of Specialization. Some program replacements will delete a Field of Specialization, and others will not.
The determination about whether a department merger or program replacement should be reviewed by the Program Termination procedure will be made by the Planning Committee when it reviews the proposal for such a change.
4. The procedure requires submission of theReport Form for Program Termination, review by Program Termination Subcommittee, and approval by Council. The Report Form will be completed for terminations. The Program Termination Subcommittee will review the deletion request as described below, and will formulate a recommendation for consideration by the Planning Committee. Issues concerning the possible termination of a program would be discussed at Council on the basis of recommendations forwarded by the Planning Committee.
IV. Program Termination Subcommittee
- two representatives from the Planning Committee, one of whom will chair the Subcommittee
- representative from the Academic Programs Committee
- representative from the Budget Committee
- representative from the Research Committee
- exofficio representatives from the University Studies Group and the Office of the Vice-President Academic (non-voting).
Terms of reference
1. To review proposals from colleges for program terminations and recommend to the Planning Committee whether the program should be deleted.
2. On referral from the Vice-President Academic of a Category D program from the Systematic Program Review process, to review the referral and recommend to the Planning Committee whether the program should be deleted.
3. On referral from the Vice-President Academic of a Category C program from the Systematic Program Review process whose action plan was not approved by the Vice-President Academic, to review the referral and recommend to the Planning Committee whether the program should be deleted.
4. On referral from the President of a program deletion, to review the referral and recommend to the Planning Committee whether the program should be deleted.
1. The ï¿½Report Form for Program Terminationï¿½ will form the basis of the documentation forwarded to Council.
2. Keeping in mind the guidelines listed, the Subcommittee will consider the following issues:
a) The academic value of this program to a major university.
b) The quality assessment achieved by this program in the Systematic Program Review process.
c) The impact of termination on students and how they will be advised to complete their programs, especially the impact on graduate students.
d) The impact of termination on faculty and staff, including the implications of provisions of collective agreements.
e) The impact of termination on any ongoing research projects or the overall research capacity and reputation of the university.
f) Any financial and/or resource impacts, including faculty, staff, physical facilities and equipment, library resources, disposition and archiving of materials, termination of trust funds, impact on development or alumni projects.
g) The impact of termination on other programs, departments or colleges, and in particular whether related programs will be affected by this termination. Areas of consideration would include: quality, demand, efficiency, unique features, relevance to the province, whether this program is already available from another college or department, whether course terminations will affect any other programs, if there is any impact on internal or external partners in interdisciplinary programs, and whether it is likely, or appropriate, that another department or college will develop a program or courses to replace the ones deleted.
h) Any external impact from the termination (university reputation, accreditation, other institutions, high schools, community organizations, professional associations, etc.), including whether it is likely or appropriate that another educational institution will offer this program if it is deleted at the University of Saskatchewan.
i) And it may also be appropriate to consider the impact of the program termination on areas such as extension and public service, education equity, interdisciplinarity, the university mission and goals.
3. The Subcommittee will ensure that all relevant factors are considered, and that all interested parties have had the opportunity to make written submissions to the Subcommittee.
4. The Subcommittee will forward its recommendation to the Planning Committee. The recommendation would include a synopsis of the subcommitteeï¿½s discussions and conclusions.
ATTACHMENT I: Report Form for Program Termination
ATTACHMENT II: List of Programs in Systematic Program Review.
The schedule of programs to be reviewed under Systematic Program Review shows the Fields of Specialization. Termination would require review by the Program Termination Subcommitte.