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External panel to share experiences, advice on Program Prioritization

October 2, 2015

Using a computer in Founders Memorial LibraryWhat do evaluators look for when they read your program narrative?

What are best practices for task force members relative to rubrics and scoring? And what outcomes can NIU look forward as a result of Program Prioritization?

These and many other questions will be addressed Wednesday, Oct. 14, and Thursday, Oct. 15, when a panel of experts from other universities that have already undergone Program Prioritization visit the NIU campus.

The entire campus community is invited to a panel discussion and Q&A session with the panelists from 1:30 to 3 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 14 in the Carl Sandburg Auditorium of the Holmes Student Center. Panelists will share how the process unfolded on their campuses, offer advice on best practices and describe outcomes. They also will take questions from the audience.

Following the all-campus event, the panelists will meet at 3:15 p.m. with Administrative Task Force members in the Lincoln Room and with Academic Task Force members in the HSC Sky Room to address common concerns and issues among those who must rank programs.

On Thursday, Oct. 15, the panelists will meet from 9 until 11 a.m. with academic program authors and approvers in the Sandburg Auditorium, and with administrative program authors and approvers in the Duke Ellington Ballroom, and will repeat the session for authors and approvers in the same locations from 1 to 3 p.m.

All those involved in program narratives – primary authors, secondary authors, support staff and approvers – are urged to attend.

Task force members also will participate in a three-hour session Thursday afternoon on scoring and rubric development in the Gabel Hall Learning Center. Part of that session will include a video conference with Katharine Black and R.J. McGivney of the University of Hartford. Black and McGivney helped run the program prioritization process at Hartford, including development of scoring mechanisms there.

In between the large-scale sessions, panel members will meet with a variety of smaller groups, including the Council of Deans, the Program Prioritization Coordinating Team, the task force co-chairs and the Data Support Team.

For more information, call (815) 753-8100 or email [email protected].


Jack Maynard, former provost, Indiana State University
Role:  Ran ISU’s Program Prioritization Process
Expertise:  Resource reallocation and shared governance
Advice:  “Everyone needs to understand need and potential impact up front.”

Brad Balch, Dean Emeritus of College of Education, Indiana State University
Role:  Task Force member
Expertise:  Task Force recommendations and implementation; change management
Advice:  “Take your time with the process – it’s a cultural change and necessary for the future of higher education.”

Dene Hurley, Chair of Economics, Lehman College (CUNY System, Bronx, New York)
Role:  Co-Chair of Academic Task Force
Expertise:  Developing ranking rubrics, training program authors
Advice:  “Ensure you make the appropriate data available to answer questions.”

Richard Finger, Director of Enrollment and Graduate Studies, Lehman College (not pictured)
Role:  Co-Chair of Academic Task Force
Expertise:  Working with data teams to develop and validate data sets
Advice:  “Clearly define what is considered a program, and make the best data available.”

Stacy Pearson, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Boise State University
Role:  Oversaw process for Division of Finance and Administration; facilitated translation of PP principles into sustainable budget process.
Expertise:  Development of metrics, evaluation of programs, and development of action plans for administrative programs
Advice:  “This is a rigorous project that requires significant commitment from leadership and heavy lifting at top levels to see it through.  Frequent communications and campus updates are key.”

Jim Munger, Vice Provost for Academic Planning, Boise State University
Role:  Led BSU’s overall Program Prioritization initiative and implementation of resulting actions; led initiative for academic programs.
Expertise: Overall process organization, data for academic programs and departments
Advice:  “Ensure that substantive changes occur so that people see value in the process.”

Steve Fowl, Professor of Theology; Chair – Academic Senate, Loyola University – Maryland
Role:  Co-Chaired overall Program Prioritization initiative
Expertise:  Credibility with administration and faculty
Advice:  “Don’t short circuit the process in favor of a quick result.”

Terra Schehr, Assistant Vice President, Institutional Research and Effectiveness, Loyola University – Maryland
Role:  Member, P.P. steering committee and P.P. working groups on undergraduate education and continuing education
Expertise:  Data analysis and interpretation
Advice:  “Be as transparent as possible so community conversation is focused on the issues and not derailed by questions about process.”

Panel Schedule at a Glance

October 14

  • 7:30 to 9 a.m. Breakfast with Task Force Co-Chairs and Data Team Leaders (University Suite)
  • 9 to 10 a.m. Meeting with Data Support Team (Lincoln Room)
  • 10:15 to 11:45 a.m. Meeting with Council of Deans (Altgeld 203)
  • Noon to 1 p.m. Lunch with Panel Organizers (University Suite)
  • 1:30 to 3 p.m. All-Campus panel discussion in Sandburg
  • 3:15 to 5 p.m. Meetings with Academic (Sky Room) and Administrative (Lincoln Room) Task Forces
  • 6:30 to 8 p.m. Dinner with Task Force Co-Chairs

October 15

  • 7:30 to 8:45 a.m. Breakfast with PP Coordinating Team, Shared Governance Representatives (University Suite)
  • 9 to 11 a.m. Academic and Administrative authors and approvers workshops (Academic in Sandburg; Administrative in Ballroom)
  • 11:30 to 12:45 p.m. Lunch with Task Force Co-Chairs and Evaluation Team (University Suite)
  • 1 to 3 p.m. Academic and Administrative authors and approvers workshops (Academic in Sandburg; Administrative in Ballroom)
  • 1 to 4 p.m. Scoring and rubric discussion with task force members and Skype session with panelists from University of Hartford, Gabel Hall Learning Center