Minnesota West Policies
Chapter 3: Educational
3.10 Academic Program Review
The college’s primary mission is to provide a quality-learning environment for its students. One means to accomplish this mission is to offer an effective and efficient method to evaluate the viability of existing programs and proposed programs. The Program Analysis System (PAS) goal is to provide such an evaluation tool. The PAS is intended to be integrated with the plan to Assess Student Academic Achievement. The outcomes of these two programs will give the college a set of tools to ensure MWCTC is continuously improving its educational mission in an efficient and cost-effective manner.
The mission of the Program Analysis System is to provide a mechanism to evaluate existing and new programs to determine their educational and cost effectiveness, to recommend annually a two-year action plan, and to provide an annual review to determine the effectiveness of the prescribed course of action.
- Annually evaluate the status of each instructional cost center (course prefix) with respect to enrollments, cost effectiveness, and optimum utilization of class capacity.
- Annually place each cost center in one of five categories based on goal one-serious decline, decline, stable, growth, serious growth.
- Develop a two-year action plan for cost centers placed in the serious decline category.
- Develop a two-year plan to handle serious growth cost centers.
- Develop a report to outline actions to monitor and correct declining cost centers.
- Develop a report with recommendations to assist growing cost centers.
- Involve impacted faculty members in analysis of cost center data.
- Recommendation for the expansion of a cost center, no change in a cost center size, reduction in cost center and elimination of cost center will be presented to President’s Council prior to December of each fiscal year.
- For all new programs, options to existing programs and replication of existing programs an “Instructional Program Proposal” must be completed prior to submission for college and Minnesota State approval.
- Non-transfer program cost centers (Career and Technical Programs) will be evaluated on an annual basis on the percent of incoming cohort that graduates on time, annual number of graduates, graduate follow-up surveys, and starting salaries of recent graduates.
Program Review Process
Each of the existing cost centers at the college will undergo an evaluation annually as described in the steps below:
Step 1: Each cost center associated with actual instruction will be evaluated annually based on the following nine variables:
- A five-year FTE student enrollment trend pattern for each cost center (E).
- A five-year cost trend measure by the ratio of FTE faculty in cost center/FTE students in cost center courses (C1).
- Year five ratio of FTE faculty in cost center/FTE students in cost center courses (C3).
- A five-year cost trend measure by the ration of non-salary/benefit costs within cost center/FTE students in cost center (C3)
- Average of previous five years’ non-salary/benefit costs within cost center courses/FTE students in cost center courses (C4)
- A five-year trend measure of the ration of a selected first course offered within a cost center comparing the average number of students per section/optimum capacity of the course per section (S1).
- Fifth year ration of selected first course within a cost center comparing the number of students per section/optimum capacity of the course per section (S2).
- A five year trend measure of the ratio of all courses within a cost center comparing total number of students/optimum capacity of students (S4).
- Fifth year ratio of all courses within a cost center comparing total number of students per section/optimum capacity of students (S5).
Step 2: Each of the nine variables for each of the cost centers will take a value of 5, 10, or 15 depending upon the value of the variable itself. The sum of the nine variables will determine the status of the cost center:
- 45 – 75 points: the cost center is experiencing a serious problem in one or more of the following areas: enrollment decline, cost effectiveness, or program quality.
- 76 – 85 points: the cost center is seen as in an early warning stage, that a problem may
exist within one or more of the following areas: enrollment decline, cost effectiveness, or program quality.
- 86 – 105 points: the cost center is seen to be in a stable situation.
- 106 – 115 points: the cost center is seen to need a growth management review.
- 116 – 135 points the cost center needs to address serious growth issues from an
enrollment, cost and quality perspective.
- If a cost center scores below 76 points, cost center faculty and administration are required to develop an action plan by November 1 to include the following:
- Needs assessment.
- Capital cost assessment.
- Instructional quality assessment.
- Program quality assessment in terms of curriculum, equipment, schedule of courses, etc.
- Marketing effort.
- Political ramifications of discontinuation of the program.
- If a cost center score is between 76 and 85, a report outlining the actions to monitor and correct the weakness is required of the faculty and administration by January 20.
- If a cost center falls between 86 and 105 points no action plan or report is required. A set of cost center goals from faculty members of the area for the next fiscal year is due by May 1.
- If a cost center falls between 106 and 115 a report outlinging the actions necessary to insure continued growth and stability of the cost center is required by March 1 from cost center faculty.
- If a cost center score is greater than 115 the following four questions are due prior to the start of the second semester from cost center faculty.
- What caused the growth? Is the growth short term?
- Why are the cost efficiencies so good within this cost center?
- Are the long-term employment potentials for the programs within the cost center good?
- What future capital expenditures will be necessary if the growth is to be accommodated?
Step 4: A progress report will be due from those programs scoring under 76 points by February 1 and May 1.
Step 5: Non-transfer career and technical programs will also be reviewed for the following program qualitative factors:
- Percent of incoming full-time co-hort that graduates on time. (Goal: 75%).
- Annual number of AAS graduates. (Goal: 80% of incoming second year class).
- Graduate and Employer follow-up survey results. (Goal: a) 75% find employment in field; b) 90% of the employers would hire another Minnesota West graduate).
- Starting salaries of recent graduates. (Goal: 75% of the graduates employed in field one year after graduation earns at least 220% of the minimum wage.)
Programs that fail to meet all four categories are required to follow requirements outlined in step 3:1. Cost center faculty members are required to develop a report outlining the causes and cures for each goal not met above. This report is due by the start of the second semester. A progress report is due prior to the start of the fall semester.
Step 6: If a program closure is necessary or cost center downsizing is required after review, the apppropriate union contract will be followed.
Step 7: Evaluation: At each step individuals should evaluate the process to determine what modifications to the process should be made. Recommendations should be made to the President’s Council prior to the close of an academic year so that appropriate modifications, additions and deletions from process can be made.
Approved by: Ron Wood, President
Date: July 1, 2003
History & Revision: July 25, 2017 Minnesota State