They describe the APP process as an “iterative, participatory and data-driven program review, identifying areas of consolidation, reorganization, elimination and growth.”
“Implementing an academic program review process is necessary, realistic and extremely unpopular work that many institutions fail to undertake, except in times of crisis,” they write. “But the truth is that program prioritization should be ongoing — part of a continuous assessment process that ensures the vibrancy of the curriculum, encourages innovation and provides opportunities for strategic growth in academic programs at the undergraduate and graduate level by discontinuing programs that are under-enrolled or lack student demand.”
While acknowledging that Ithaca College has had to furlough staff, they point out that, historically, institutions have taken that easier path in times of financial uncertainty and organizational change.
“Not only does this fail to solve the underlying issues around the higher ed business model, but it also contributes to and sustains a deeply inequitable paradigm of employment in higher education that frames staff jobs as expendable yet faculty jobs as untouchable. For healthy, holistic and equitable transformation to occur, this paradigm must shift.”
They note that the coming years will be difficult for Ithaca College and for all of higher education, which is in deep need of systemic change, but that the future can look bright, with courageous, student-centered leadership.
“That we are moving forward with this work at a time such as this reflects our commitment to the future of Ithaca and the success of our students,” they write. “We must push forward because it is the right thing to do. Our students deserve nothing less.”