Strategic Directions

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Academic Master Plan Proposed Action Plan

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Proposed action objective:

Develop an Academic Master Plan to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of all academic programs offered at USD that will guide decision making and resource allocation. Use the results to develop and improve programs to reflect the university’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.

Develop an Academic Master Plan to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of all academic programs offered at USD that will guide decision making and resource allocation. Use the results to develop and improve programs to reflect the university’s mission, vision, and strategic goals.

How does this objective contribute to one or more of USD’s overall strategic goals?

The academic master plan will facilitate evaluation of programs, departments, and schools to determine how they currently contribute to the university’s mission and goals 1, 2, 4, as well as how their contributions could be enhanced through new programs, programmatic changes, or resource redistribution.

Who is responsible for implementing and monitoring this objective?

Provost, with assistance from deans, assistant provosts, faculty, Institutional Research and Planning (IRP), and the Office of Assessment.

What steps are necessary to achieve this objective?

  1. Develop an academic master plan coordinating committee.
  2. Gather data on academic master planning in American higher education.
  3. Gather brief statements from deans, department chairs, and program directors about where their programs should be in five and ten years.
  4. Review data and develop the framework of a master plan for USD that:
    1. Defines a set of quantitative performance indicators (QPI) to be gathered centrally and reviewed on an annual basis to provide a quick indication of problems that may be developing.
    2. Defines a program review process incorporating additional qualitative performance indicators and a schedule for that provide the basis for periodic program self-study and review.
    3. Establishes a schedule for periodic reviews of all programs, departments, and schools, taking into consideration the existing accreditation schedules of professional accrediting agencies.
    4. Includes a mechanism for evaluating new external and internal opportunities for initiating or changing programs.
    5. Includes a mechanism for classifying programs into the following categories:
      1. Strong programs that distinguish USD
      2. Solid programs that need to be maintained and are central to USD
      3. Programs that require close monitoring because of rapid change in trend lines, either nationally or locally
      4. Programs experiencing enrollment declines or qualitative challenges requiring high scrutiny or restructuring
    6. Links program review to the budgeting process.
  5. Distribute master plan draft to academic community for input; finalize plan.
  6. Implement plan over entire five-year review cycle.

What measurable indicator(s) can be used to monitor progress?

Suggested quantitative performance indicators (QPI) include:

  • Revenue and expenditures
  • Faculty: FT/PT/FTE, demographics, degrees, teaching loads
  • Courses: credit hours, distribution of sections
  • Incoming students: demographics, test scores
  • Current Students: FT/PT/FTE, majors, degrees, demographics, retention
Suggested qualitative indicators include:
  • Discipline-specific student learning assessments
  • Evaluations by external reviewers
  • Faculty research and service contributions
  • Student placement

Proposed timeline—what is to be accomplished by:

2005-06
  • Establish how the academic master plan ties into the mission, vision, and goals of the university.
  • Define what is important to be gathered on an institutional basis vs. what is important to be gathered by the individual academic units in terms of performance indicators.
  • Establish quantitative performance indicators (QPI) across units to be collected annually for all programs by IRP and the Provost’s Office.
  • Gather from the deans their classification of programs (see Steps, 4e).
  • Collect brief statements from units envisioning where programs could and should be in 5 and 10 years.
  • Establish schedule for program reviews congruent with existing accreditation schedules.
  • Draft skeleton of the academic master plan.
  • Establish who will be involved in the task force to ensure all components of the five-year plan are implemented.
  • Develop a mechanism to evaluate new external and internal institutional opportunities.
2006-07
  • Review QPI gathered by IRP.
  • Begin five-year schedule of program reviews.
  • Based on results of review and QPI, determine course of action for each program.
  • Establish a system for mid-point reviews to evaluate program progress in addressing weaknesses found by the initial review.
  • Devise a mechanism to report findings and progress to the Trustees.
  • Update academic master plan.
  • Report to President and Board.
2007-08
2008-09
  • Review QPI annually.
  • Complete reviews based on established schedule.
  • Make reports as determined in year 2.
  • Update academic master plan.
2009-10
  • Review QPI annually.
  • Complete reviews based on established schedule.
  • Make reports as determined in year 2.
  • Update academic master plan.
  • Develop process for new initiatives and programs.

What resources will be required to accomplish this objective?

Financial Funds to compensate external program reviewers. Funds for additional clerical support personnel.
Personnel Clerical support for Academic Affairs and IRP. Senior academic personnel will be required to contribute large amounts of time.
Space Office space for clerical support.
Technical None foreseen at this time.