The Academic Program Review process now being completed included the review of 185 degree and certificate programs at the campuses of the University of Montana. This year, for the first time, programs at the Colleges of Technology were included in the review. As a result, the number of programs reviewed is substantially higher than it was in 1994-95.

Recommendations to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board of Regents appear on the submission agenda in January 2000, with action to be taken at the March 2000 meeting. At that meeting, recommendations on programs at the campuses of Montana State University are tentatively scheduled to appear on the submission agenda, with action to be taken at the May 2000 meeting.

As part of the Review, campuses were asked to examine all programs and to identify, for the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education and the Board what may be termed Special Purpose Programs, those that serve a special purpose in the curriculum such as

    1. Master s programs that serve as an alternate degree to the doctorate, provided the doctoral degree itself is not on the low degree list;
    2. Programs that are formed of dual majors comprised solely of program requirements from accredited programs not on the low degree list;
    3. Programs that are central to institutional mission; and
    4. Programs that lack at least a three-year history.

The Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education offers recommendations of six types:

  • Retain: program has sufficient productivity, centrality to mission, and quality to be retained.
  • Eliminate: program has insufficient productivity, quality or merit from the campus' perspective to warrant continuation. (Campuses may use the Level I process and the closure checklist.)
  • Consolidate: curriculum will be restructured to reduce the number of programs.
  • Quantitative review: program sufficiently close to numerical standards to make it possible for standards to be met in two years.
  • Review: some programs will warrant focused evaluation, possibly with the use of external consultants, to determine if a credible action agenda can be developed to attain the numerical standards. With Regents approval, a program could undergo quantitative review after two years.
  • Convert: when an option shows a sustained rate of graduates (completions) sufficient to meet quantitative criteria for a major, it may be converted to a major through the Level I or II process.

Except in unusual circumstances, programs will not be continued in the long term that do not meet the numerical standards. In a few cases, campuses have argued to retain a program pending an in-depth review on the campus. For example, the Master of Arts in Fine Arts at the University of Montana was reconfigured as a consequence of the last program review but over an extended period. In consideration of that, the new leadership of the college and the helpful role of the Graduate Council in such matters, staff will recommend retaining the program pending an intensive Graduate Council review and ensuing recommendations.

In addition, the universities have been involved in ongoing evaluations of the program inventory that have resulted in additional program eliminations that were not included in this list.

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