Kat Riddler, Managing Editor

Program cuts could be on the horizon for some undergraduate and graduate degree programs at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.

On April 2, Kristin Sobolik, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, sent out a campus wide email about the Academic Program Prioritization Committee’s report and recommendations for the campus..

The committee was part of a system-wide effort to evaluate the academic programs to

“ascertain our programmatic areas of growth, strength and excellence to help guide, among other things, future distribution of resources,” according to the prioritization report.

In October 2017, the committee was formed as part of an initiative started by the University of Missouri System President Mun Choi. Each campus was to evaluate and provide an action plan to the system. The UMSL committee was comprised of members representing major academic units and university senate/assembly committees and was chaired by Dr. Chris Spilling, vice provost for research and graduate studies at UMSL.

Their review included quantitative and qualitative analyses, as well as numerous exchanges with and input from the UMSL campus community. The committee completed its final report with recommendations on March 22.

Based on the information gathered, the committee recommended different actions to be taken for each unit: inactivation, further review, combination/consolidation, strategic investments, or fine as/no action needed.

The inactivation actions were suggested for anthropology, the master’s degree in communication, and theatre and cinema arts. The political science department was given a combine/consolidate as well as inactivation action evaluation.

There were 12 criteria that were evaluated and each criteria had indicators associated with it to better quantify what they were evaluating. The 12 criteria were: the mission of the unit/program; history, development, and expectations; external demand; internal demand; program inputs and processes; program outcomes; size, scope, and productivity; advancement and other resources generated; cost of the program; impact, justification, and overall essentiality; opportunity analysis; and scholarly activity and grants. The committee would take the criteria and indicators to then give an overall rating of the unit or program.

There will be open forums for UMSL’s stakeholders to attend and give feedback on the report before Sobolik and Chancellor Thomas George make final decisions. Those dates are April 4 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the University Assembly Budget and Planning Committee at the Summit Lounge of the J.C. Penney Building, April 13 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Faculty and Staff Open Forum in the Summit Lounge of the J.C. Penney Building, and April 19 from 9 to 11 a.m. at the Student Open Forum at the Summit Lounge of the J.C. Penney Building.

In her email, Sobolik said that she will work with the chancellor and other campus leaders to draft an action plan based on the report and feedback from our various discussions and present the plan to Budget and Planning on May 9.The last open forum will be May 9 from 3 to 5 p.m. at the University Assembly Budget and Planning Committee, where the location has not yet been determined.  

If you cannot attend one of the above meetings to give feedback, please visit the website to give feedback on the report.

For updates, the full report, online feedback submission, and more information, please visit the Academic Program Priortization website at https://www.umsl.edu/services/academic/review/index.html.