URA FAQ - Strategic Planning
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Frequently Asked Questions

Why are we doing this?

During times of budget reduction, sometimes difficult decisions must be made about where to invest or not to invest for the health of the university. Aligning our resources will allow us to maximize our core mission. In the past these decisions were often discussed and made behind closed doors. In our new era of transparency, we are engaging the campus community to participate in this process.

What will the criteria be?

Draft criteria will be developed over the summer and then revised and improved with campus input in the fall.  We expect that the criteria will be created with full transparency and collaboration across the university.  Thus, your input will shape the answer to this question.

Who will be making program decisions?

The URA steering committee, with extensive campus involvement and input, will make recommendations to the Chancellor for final decisions.

Will Arts, Humanities, or Foreign Languages be cut?

All academic programs will be evaluated according to a single set of criteria. No program or discipline has been selected a priori for reduced or increased resources.

Will administrative departments also be considered?

Yes, all administrative programs will be evaluated according to a set of predetermined criteria, which is distinct from the academic program criteria.

Will there be layoffs?

This steering committee is engaging the campus community to align resources with no specific intent to cut budgets or programs. Should programs ultimately be reduced, the institution will make every attempt to preserve the employment of affected workers.

When will this evaluation be completed?

Our goal is to complete the first round of recommendations by no later than Summer of 2018. Effective organizations continually evaluate their programs and services to meet the changing needs of the populations they serve. We foresee the university using the recommendations and process developed by the steering committee to evaluate programs and services on an ongoing basis.

What’s the difference between a department and a program?

Most departments, both academic and administrative, run more than one program. Defining and creating an inventory of programs is a big part of the project initially. We are still working on defining and listing programs. One way to think of a program is a collection of activities, that can be separated from other activities, and is intended to deliver a particular outcome.  

How does this interface with the new budget model?

The URA steering committee hopes that the criteria we develop can be part of the discussion and decision-making for the new budget model.  

Will this continue under a new Provost?

Yes, both the interim Provost and new Provost will be tasked with supporting this charge.

What’s in it for me?

Through this process, constituents will have better insight and input into critical university decisions about programs and resource allocations.