Academic Program Discontinuance

Definition:This policy provides categories of decision variables and a set of processes and procedures to be used in recommending the discontinuation or enrollment suspension of academic programs at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM).
Authority:The President of the University and Coded Memo AAP 91-14.
Scope:All CSUSM academic programs.
Responsible Division:Academic Affairs
Approval Date:06/27/2012
Implementation Date:06/27/2012
Originally Implemented:10/15/2010
Signature Page/PDF:View Signatures for Academic Program Discontinuance Policy


Procedure

I. PREAMBLE

This policy provides categories of decision variables and a set of processes and procedures to be used in recommending the discontinuation of academic programs at California State University San Marcos (CSUSM). This policy does not address re-organization or elimination of organizational units within Academic Affairs. Academic programs covered by this policy include:

  • undergraduate and graduate degree programs;
  • concentrations, tracks and options;
  • minors;
  • certificate programs (including Extended Learning) for credit; and
  • credential programs.

Should it be necessary to consider the discontinuation of an academic program, a determination will be based upon a thorough review of the following categories of decision variables:

  • the importance of the program to the University’s mission as articulated in the approved mission statement;
  • the quality of the program;
  • the efficiency (cost effectiveness); and
  • the demand for the program.

In considering a decision to discontinue a program, no one category should necessarily be deemed more crucial than any other, nor, likewise, its deficiency, or low rating, in any one category necessarily sufficient for program discontinuance.  A decision to discontinue a program should not be based solely on quantitative measures, but on a holistic assessment of the program in terms of all the decision variables, within a process that is broadly consultative and collegial.

II. DECISION VARIABLES

A) Importance to the institution

  1. To what extent the program promotes the mission of the University.
  2. To what extent the program is central to the curriculum of a department, a college or the University.
  3. To what extent the program contributes to a balanced curriculum.

B) Quality of the program
To what extent the quality of the program justifies continuance in its present form.    The variables for evaluating program quality include but are not limited to:

  1. demonstrated ability of the faculty to offer and maintain a current and rigorous curriculum;
  2. access to resources adequate to maintain the sufficient breadth, depth and coherence of the program;
  3. demonstrated ability to attract and retain enough well-qualified faculty;
  4. the quality of the program’s faculty as demonstrated by participation in appropriate scholarly, creative and/or professional activity; and
  5. to what extent the program’s excellence and standing in its discipline enhances the reputation of the University.

C) Efficiency (cost effectiveness) of the program
To what extent the program is cost-effective relative to disciplinary norms and compared to similar programs at comparable institutions.  The measurements presented for the specific program shall include:

  1. student-faculty ratio;
  2. total cost per FTEF;
  3. the total cost per FTES;
  4. potential for external funding and support; and
  5. other discipline specific variables.

D) Demand for the program
To what extent the present and projected demand for the program is sufficient. Demand for the program may be measured by one or more of the following:

  1. the number of completed applications for admission;
  2. the FTES generated in lower division, upper division, and/or graduate level courses;
  3. the number of students who completed the program;
  4. the anticipated need for graduates of the program.

III. PROCESS AND PROCEDURE

The processes for discontinuance or enrollment suspension are similar to the process for the creation of programs.  This process involves program faculty, program/department chair (or equivalent), the dean of the college housing the program, the Provost, the Academic Senate, and the President of the University (or designee).  This process for reviewing program discontinuance or enrollment suspension shall be completed as follows. Should it be necessary to create an Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee (see III.B. below), this committee shall submit its recommendation within eight months after the intial recommendation excluding the summer months. The Senate vote and President’s campus decision on program discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) shall be completed within four months after the Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee’s recommendation excluding the summer months.     

A) Initiation of program discontinuance or enrollment suspension
A recommendation to consider program discontinuance or enrollment suspension may be made by any of the following parties:

  1. the chair of the program (or equivalent) with the written approval of a majority of the tenured/tenure-track faculty in the program;
  2. the dean of the college housing the program;
  3. the Provost; or
  4. the Program Assessment Committee (PAC).

Each recommendation must be accompanied by documentation that indicates specific reasons for discontinuance or enrollment suspension based on the decision variables listed above. A recommendation to discontinue or suspend enrollment in a program should not be based solely on quantitative measures, but on a holistic assessment of the program in terms of all the decision variables.
Each recommendation shall include information regarding the potential effect on the future employment status of the faculty and staff in the program.

The recommendation shall be submitted in writing to the chair of the Academic Senate.  The chair of the Academic Senate shall inform the following parties within 7 calendar days of the receipt of the recommendation:

  1. all tenured and tenure-track faculty who teach in the program;
  2. the dean of the college housing the program;
  3. the Provost;
  4. the Academic Senate; and
  5.  the students of the affected program (via ASI student representative and chair of department).

“Calendar days” exclude the summer break and the breaks between semesters wherever the term is used in this document. The notification from the Academic Senate Chair to the five parties must specify the date by which an objection must be received in writing in order to keep a recommendation for discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) from being sent to the President.

If, within 14 calendar days of receipt of this recommendation, none of the individuals or parties listed in 1 through 5 above has objected to the proposed discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) in writing to the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Senate, a recommendation for discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) will be sent to the President.

If, within 14 calendar days of receipt of this recommendation, a written objection is submitted by one or more of the individuals or parties listed in 1. through 5. above to the Provost and the Chair of the Academic Senate, the following procedure shall be followed prior to submission of a program discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) recommendation to the President. 

B) Review of the recommendation

Within 14 calendar days of receipt of the letter objecting to a proposed program discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) from one of the parties listed above, the Senate Executive Committee in consultation with the Provost shall request that the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) and the Budget and Long-Range Planning committee (BLP) form an Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee to conduct a special program review focused on issues related to potential discontinuance or enrollment suspension.  The committee shall include:

  1. the chair (or designee) of UCC,
  2. the chair (or designee) of BLP,
  3. the chair (or designee) of PAC,
  4. one faculty member from the affected program chosen by the faculty of the program,
  5. the chair (or equivalent) of the affected program/department, and
  6. the dean of the college which houses the program.

The committee is responsible for deciding to what extent to involve appropriate constituencies such as additional program faculty, library liaisons, AVP for Academic Programs, AVP for Planning and Academic Resources, Dean of Graduate Studies (if applicable), IITS representative, and representative students of the program, etc.

The Ad Hoc Program Viability Review Committee shall evaluate the recommendation to discontinue (or suspend enrollment in) a program by collecting necessary data and supporting documentation from all appropriate campus sources. These may include program review(s), external review(s), and accreditation review(s).

Again, a recommendation to discontinue (or suspend enrollment in) a program should not be based solely on quantitative measures, but on a holistic assessment of the program in terms of all the decision variables.

At the end of the review, the Ad Hoc Program Viability Review Committee shall report in writing its findings, recommendation, and rationale to UCC and BLP.    The Committee may recommend that the program (a) be discontinued; (b) be discontinued unless specified conditions can be met; (c) suspend new enrollment); (d) be continued; (e) be limited in size through impaction; (f) be reconfigured to be offered through Extended Learning; (g) combined with another program; or (h) offered jointly with one or more CSU campuses.  The Committee may make other recommendations as appropriate, but the committee may not recommend discontinuance if the Viability Review was initiated through a challenge to a request for enrollment suspension.

When UCC and BLP have reviewed the report for completeness, they shall forward it to the following parties:

  • the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate
  • the dean of the affected college
  • the Provost
  • the Vice President for Student Affairs (for information only)
  • the faculty of the affected program (for information only)
  • the Dean of the Library (for information only)
  • the Dean of Graduate Studies (if applicable)
  • the Dean of Extended Learning (if applicable)

The college dean and the Provost may submit their recommendations to the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate.

The Executive Committee of the Academic Senate shall collect the individual recommendations from the Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee, the dean, and the Provost, and shall prepare a summary and a motion to be distributed to the Senate along with the individual recommendations.

The Executive Committee shall forward the motion to the Senate for appropriate action.    The dean, faculty, and students of the affected program shall be invited to attend the Senate meetings when the Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee report is presented. The Ad-Hoc Program Viability Review Committee recommendation and Senate action on program discontinuance (or enrollment suspension) shall then go to the President for review and action. 

IV. SAFEGUARDS FOR STUDENTS

If a program is to be discontinued or have its enrollment suspended, procedures shall be set up by the program to enable students to complete their course of study at CSUSM.  The procedures shall include:

  • preparation of an official list of students enrolled in the program;
  • establishment of a cut-off date for students to declare the major;
  • a tentative plan of course offerings for completion of the program; and
  • the date by which program requirements must be met.

V. SAFEGUARDS FOR FACULTY AND STAFF

Safeguards for faculty and staff are contained within the appropriate collective bargaining agreement between the Board of Trustees and the exclusive bargaining agents.

VI. PROCEDURE FOR REINSTATEMENT OF A PROGRAM WITH SUSPENDED ENROLLMENT

Reinstatement of a suspended program may be proposed by the appropriate program/department faculty in consultation with the college dean. The proposal shall explain in detail the changes in staffing or funding that makes reinstatement possible. 

In cases where the program has been suspended for two years or less, the Provost, if satisfied that sufficient faculty and budget are available to offer the program successfully, may approve the proposal for reinstatement by notifying the Academic Senate of the action that has been taken.   

Dean ----> Provost

In cases where the program has been suspended for more than two years, the Provost will refer the proposal for reinstatement to the Academic Senate for review and recommendation by the full Senate.  In all cases, reinstatement requires final approval by the Provost.

Dean  -----> Provost ------> Senate

VII. DISCONTINUED AND SUSPENDED PROGRAM ARCHIVE

All materials necessary for potential reinstatement of a suspended or discontinued program shall be forwarded to the appropriate CSUSM institutional repository. Suspended programs are not published in the General Catalog; if a Catalog Addendum is produced between the time of the suspension and the appearance of the next catalog, it will contain a notice to students that new enrollment in the program has been suspended.