Shapiro outlines academic prioritization, university goals for the 2012-13 year
Almost $3.7 million of university funds will go toward supporting the highest priority programs from University Provost Gary Shapiro’s academic prioritization recommendations in 2011.
Academic prioritization began as a joint project between Shapiro and University President George Ross. The report evaluates 401 programs, placing them into priorities ranked one through five. Priority five programs are “candidate(s) for reduction, phase out or consolidation with another program,” while priority one programs are “candidates for enhancement.”
Since the prioritization results have come out, some high priority departments have received additional funding, graduate assistants and new regular faculty members. While the highest priority programs will receive the most money, $800,000 has been set aside for second priority programs.
“What’s happening is we’ve put money aside from our central funding to support these high priority programs,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro said one or two staff people have been hired so far, but most of the searches are still underway for new faculty.
“There are currently many searches being conducted in each of the academic colleges for new regular faculty positions which are intended to support and strengthen our high priority programs,” he said.
The possibility of another academic prioritization report being released in five years is being considered.
“I assumed the university will continue to do this kind of prioritization on a regular basis,” Shapiro said.
Shapiro said three years would be considered too soon to rank the university programs, while seven to 10 years down the road would be too long.
“Things change, the external environment changes, policy changes and certain fields become more popular and in demand,” Shapiro said. “We have to review them on a continuous basis because some programs have already begun the process of transition.”
Salma Ghanem, dean of the College of Communication and Fine Arts, said her programs have received rankings anywhere from a Priority 1 to a Priority 5.
“All the rankings were based on a matrix including importance of the program, quality of the program, opportunity for growth and opportunity for program improvement,” Ghanem said. “We appealed a couple of the rankings and they were changed.”
Ghanem said academic prioritization is a valuable process and should probably be done every five to 10 years.
In the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences, dean Pamela Gates said at least 10 percent of CHSBS appeared in each of the highest and lowest priority rankings.
All 97 programs were evaluated at the undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels for CHSBS.
“We were able to identify strong programs that needed additional investment to grow even stronger and we were able to identify less successful programs that needed significant work to be viable,” Gates said.
A couple of the ranking changes were discussed, but the changes were not significant issues and were not appealed through the College of Humanities and Social and Behavioral Sciences.
Academic goals for the 2012-13 school year
Following a year full of turmoil, the university is focused on improving academics this year.
One of the main goals for the university is to continue getting the College of Medicine up and running in time for the first class in the summer of 2013.
“The College of Medicine remains a very high priority,” Shapiro said. “We already have over 1,700 applications.”
Another main issue set to be addressed is communication between administration and faculty from contract negotiations last year. Shapiro said it is a matter of speaking to more than one person and not having someone hear information through the grapevine.
Additionally, the university will try to increase the number of CMU students studying abroad as well as the internationalization of the university’s curriculum and campus.
“It’s critical that our students study abroad and be exposed to other cultures,” Shapiro said. “We recognize that not everybody is able to do that and are making some efforts to include international aspects in our curriculum.”
The university will put an emphasis on the increase of funded grants and scholarships and the quality of faculty scholarship and research.
Also the university will complete its planning for attaining academic space for renovations.
“There are space issues that involve every college on this campus,” Shapiro said. “Both the amount of space and the quality of space.”
Shapiro said his goals will take time, but they are important and in the best interest of all students.
“These are not one year goals that will disappear next year,” he said.
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