The Office of the President has just released the list of programs they are recommending to be cut due to the prioritization process.
Prioritization is a process designed by Bob Dickeson of Academic Strategy Partners in order to identify what programs are bringing in money and which aren’t. The process, as designed, is done over a long period of time, usually a year. However, Doane sped up the process due to COVID-19 according to the senior communications manager in the office of Strategic Marketing Ryan Mueksch.
According to Mueksch, Doane chose to begin the prioritization process due to a budget deficit.
“We had a growing budget deficit, financial concerns became more real when COVID hit,” Mueksch said.
Dickeson designed the process to be open and transparent.
“Everything was about growth. We added students, and we added programs, and we added services and offices. All of a sudden, when the economy changed, and money was not as plentiful, it became important to do some cutting to reduce the number of programs or expenses,” Dickeson said.
Dickeson created the prioritization process to start at the bottom, with the departments instead of administration.
“It has to be bottom-up. It has to start with the departments that offer the programs; they have to complete the information because they know it best,” Dickeson said. “People sitting at the top don’t know everything there is to know about the programs.”
The original design of the process recommends that the information and reports collected be sent to the president of the university. Then the president sends his recommendations to the Board of Trustees. In Doane’s case, President Carter chose to have others help him make the recommendations.
“President Carter decided he wanted to have a team of people assist him in making these decisions,” Dickeson said in early September. “In early October, the Board will review the report and approve it or not.”
The final decisions from the Board of Trustees have since been postponed to Oct. 30. A final decision will be reached in November.
“In the very beginning, the steering committee set up a portal, and it contains a wealth of information, more than you want to know,” Dickeson said.
“In the interest of openness and transparency, my judgment is that you [students] ought to have access to it,” Dickeson said.
This portal, according to Dickeson, contains all of the information about the process. However, when asked for access to this portal, Mueksch said students would not be given access.
“There is nothing that we need to hide, per se,” Mueksch said in reference to the portal. “We are happy to answer any questions, but I do think there are some concerns. If we give one student access to the portal, then someone may think ‘why don’t all students have access to the portal?’ and it just might not be fair to do that.”
According to Mueksch, there were privacy concerns with allowing student access to the portal.
The email sent out by the President’s Office on Monday listed 17 programs recommended for elimination.
The programs that have been recommended for elimination include:
Minor in Asian Studies (College of Arts & Sciences)
Minor in Computational Science/Computational Thinking (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major in Criminal Justice (College of Professional Studies)
Major in English as a Second Language (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major in Film and Media Production (College of Arts & Sciences)
Minor in Gender studies (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major and minor in German (College of Arts & Sciences)
Secondary Endorsement in German (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major in Graphic Arts and Print Design (College of Professional Studies)
Major in Health & Society (College of Arts & Sciences)
The Doane Honors program
Major in International Studies (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major in Law, Politics, and Society (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major and minor in Philosophy (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major and minor in Political Science (College of Arts & Sciences)
Major and minor in Religious Studies (College of Arts & Sciences)
Master of Arts in Counseling program (College of Professional Studies)
Additionally, the Physics major has been recommended to be reduced to a minor program instead.
“Please know that any academic program subject to reduction or elimination will have an implementation plan developed by the respective Dean in an effort to ensure you are not adversely affected,” the email said. “Doane is committed to support you in finishing your degree. Teach-out plans for all impacted programs will be developed for academic programs that the Board of Trustees agrees to eliminate.”
Students will be allowed to complete their programs of study regardless of final decisions made by the Board of Trustees.
“Students will be able to finish their program, and the Dean overseeing the respective program will develop an implementation program,” Mueksch said.
How the implementation programs will work is dependent on the program and will be determined based on the final decisions made by the Board of Trustees.
“I think it is truly dependent on the program; if we have a handful of freshmen majoring in a particular area, that situation might be a little different than a program that has one current student majoring in it and they’re a junior or senior. Part of that will be part of the implementation program, but faculty’s contracts will be honored during this process,” Mueksch said.
Mueksch emphasized that the list of programs are being recommended for elimination, no final decisions have been made. Faculty will have until the end of the month to comment and voice their concerns. Voting on the recommendation list will be in November, though the date has not been set.
There are concerns about how faculty and staff members will react to the recommendations list along with the Board of Trustees’ final decisions.
“I do think there probably is some concern about faculty and staff and their engagement and morale after this process because cuts are never easy,” Mueksch said. “As a university, we will just have to be the best that we can to work together, faculty, staff and students, to get through this moment.”
Doane has also released a statement on the prioritization process. See graphic.
Students will be holding a protest over the process on Friday across the street from President Jacque Carter’s private residence.