The Academic Affairs Program Prioritization phase II task force completed its charge on April 15 and its list of recommendations has been submitted to Provost Robert Bates.
According to the AAPP timeline created in January, Bates has until May 5 to evaluate the recommendations, gather additional information from deans and administrative leaders, and decide which recommendations will be implemented.
The AAPP process is part of an ongoing effort to strengthen WSU’s core mission as a land-grant research university. It will identify and enhance those premiere programs where WSU has attained, or is poised to attain, national and international stature.
“The task force has accomplished its task on time and with great vigor,” said Kenneth Casavant, professor in the School of Economic Sciences and co-chair of the AAPP process along with Larry James, associate executive vice president. While most of the recommendations are for incremental changes, collectively they will have significant ramifications, Casavant said.
“The task force said, ‘Let’s challenge the status quo, let’s push the envelope.’ ”
More specifically, the task force was charged with making recommendations about which programs should be expanded, which should be maintained at current levels and which should be consolidated or eliminated.
The task force’s recommendations include many of the deans’ recommendations as well as others that go beyond particular colleges, James said. And, he said, implementing the recommendations will require more resources than those realized by a 1.5 percent across-the-board budget cut by academic units.
Early last fall, university leadership agreed to create a pool of money that could be used to jumpstart strategic investment in academic programs next fiscal year, he said, but implementing some of the long-term recommendations of the task force will require additional resources.
“Funding strategies will be selected for different areas of growth,” James said, including grant money, private gifts, further reallocations and special legislative appropriations.
In general, James said, the recommendations fall into three categories: college- or program-specific recommendations; recommendations that cross college boundaries, including interdisciplinary programs; and universitywide recommendations.
While the AAPP process has been transparent thus far, the phase II task force recommendations will not be released until the provost has studied the feasibility of the recommendations.
The 16-member task force studied 135 self-reviews completed by academic units, read an analysis and recommendations from each dean and administrative leader and then held an all-day forum on April 3 with university leadership, including chancellors and Faculty Senate leaders, to gather more information and discuss particular issues more deeply.  James said the task force also considered comments from an online survey and the Faculty Senate.

The rubrics for the unit reviews were created during phase I of the process, which began last fall. The detailed rubrics required each academic unit to show evidence of productivity in terms of education, research and service. Each unit was then asked to recommend whether a program should be expanded, maintained at current levels, consolidated with other programs or eliminated.