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Institutional Effectiveness & Assessment:Program Prioritization Initiative

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Students on campus during summer

Over the last seven months, Old Dominion University has had to abruptly respond to factors beyond our control. In doing so, we learned the breadth of our capabilities and witnessed the resilience of our faculty and staff and perseverance of our students. If we have learned one thing from this year, it is that working together, we can overcome any hurdle.

- Austin O. Agho, Ph.D. Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

Program Prioritization Initiative Goals:

  1. Shape the future of academic programming at ODU

  2. Use a data-driven process to prioritize administrative and academic programs

  3. Identify opportunities for program enhancements

  1. Identify potential areas for resource reallocation

  2. Submit reports to the provost, deans, and faculty senate

  3. Inform application of Policy 1462 (Policy for the Review of Academic Programs, Departments or Colleges for the Purpose of Possible Curtailment or Discontinuance)

  • Shared governance
  • Transparent
  • Future-focused
  • Inclusive
  • Use ODU faculty as experts
  • Build on ODU's strengths
  • Academic quality
  • Evidenced-based
  • Community-oriented
  • Student success and social mobility
  • Across the board cuts are not in the institution's best interests
  • Dr. Vinod Agarwal, Professor, Strome College of Business, Deputy Director, Dragas Center for Economic Analysis and Policy
  • Dr. Tom Allen, Professor, College of Arts and Letters
  • Dr. Nina Brown, Professor and Eminent Scholar, Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Ms. Nina Gonser, Interim Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Wayne Hynes, Professor, College of Sciences
  • Ms. Heather Huling, Assistant Vice President, Office of Distance Learning
  • Dr. Vishnu Lakdawala, Associate Professor, Batten College of Engineering and Technology
  • Dr. Norou Diawara, Professor, College of Sciences
  • Dr. Tisha Paredes, Assistant Vice President for Insitutional Effectiveness and Assessment
  • Dr. Brian Payne, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Desh Ranjan, Professor, College of Sciences
  • Dr. Lynn Ridinger, Professor, Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Dr. Jay Scribner, Professor, Darden College of Education and Professional Studies
  • Dr. Deanne Shuman, Professor, College of Health Sciences
  • Dr. Mileta Tomovic, Professor and Mitsubishi Kasei Endowed Professor, Batten College of Engineering and Technology
  • Ms. Karen Vaughan, Head of Scholarly Communication & Publishing Dept., University Libraries
  • Dr. Charles Wilson, Professor, College of Arts and Letters
  • Dr. Xiushi Yang, Professor, College of Arts and Letters
  • Dr. Wie Yusuf, Professor, Strome College of Business

Bi-weekly meetings

  • October: kickoff
  • November: data review
  • December: data review
  • January: develop preliminary actions
  • February: write reports
  • March: submit final recommendations/reports


Program Prioritization Report Archives

Provost Agho Community Letter 2021

Final Report - October 2021

In order to view the report, you must have an active ODU MIDAS ID account.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is the charge of the program prioritization initiative task force?

A: The charge of task force is to review academic programming and administrative support areas in academic affairs in order to identify and recommend possible changes to ensure that programs are aligned with future enrollment trends and fiscal realities. To do this, the task force will need to first develop a framework and methodology for strategically reviewing, assessing, and prioritizing programs and support areas. After developing the framework and methodology, the task force will carry out the methodology and produce a final report.

Q: Not all disciplinary areas are represented on the task force. How can we trust that those areas are represented?

A: Members of the task force have been asked not to represent disciplinary areas. Instead, they have been asked to view their work on the task force through an institutional lens. At the same time, several of the members invited to serve on the task force were selected because they have broad understanding of all the units in their college. As a result, those will be able to provide or acquire insight about specific areas when needed.

Q: How were members of the task force selected?

A: Faculty and faculty administrators from across the university who have demonstrated significant experience with a broad range of programs were identified. Care was taken to ensure that the task force represents faculty with diverse backgrounds.

Q: Why aren’t any NTT faculty on the task force?

A: NTT faculty are critical to the University. Several important university committees (Committee A on our Faculty Senate and the University Scholarship Committee for example) rely heavily on NTT faculty. For this task force, we included only senior tenured faculty members mainly because of their academic and/or administrative experience and institutional perspective but also, in part, because having tenure allows the faculty members to speak freely about potentially controversial topics without fear. It is important to reiterate that the taskforce members do not represent their disciplines, colleges or ranks. They represent ODU and are expected to provide recommendations that are best for ODU.

Q: Will individual programs have the opportunity to provide input/feedback regarding their programs?

A: Yes. Surveys are being distributed to chairs/directors, deans, and administrative support unit leaders as part of the first phase of information collection. After reviewing that feedback along with other data already available, the task force will identify additional individuals who will be asked to provide information about their programs. At any point, individuals can provide feedback through the anonymous link on this website. All comments received are shared with the task force.

Q: What input will you be seeking from each program?

A: To begin, unit leaders will be asked to provide input on questions related to the criteria that will be used to carry out our charge. Department chairs and school directors will be asked to describe their programs' impact on students, potential for growth, distinct features, job opportunities for graduates, emerging careers, and related items. They will also be asked to provide feedback about their interactions with administrative support units. Deans will be asked to identify programs that can be expanded, distinctive features about their college, programmatic priorities, opportunities for efficiencies, and related questions. For administrative support leaders, we will be seeking input regarding the unit's impact on students, consistency with mission, relationship to other units, ability to promote academic quality, and related questions.

Q: What are the criteria that will be used to assess academic programs?

A: The criteria will be derived from those outlined in the Board of Visitors Policy for reviewing academic programs. That policy identifies twelve items to be considered when reviewing programs. Task force members were asked to rank the items so it could focus on select items at the outset with the expectation that the other items would be considered later. As a result, the committee has identified impact on students, academic quality, student enrollment, consistency with mission, impact on research, and placement/employment opportunities as the criteria that should be considered at this time to assess academic programs. In addition, while not mentioned in the BoV policy, task force members identified impact on the community as criteria that should be included in the discussion.

Q: Will the same criteria be used to assess programs?

A: All academic programs (degree programs and academic departments) will be assessed using the same criteria highlighted above. Regarding administrative support programs, the task force identified the following criteria as items that will be considered at this time: impact on students, program costs, relationship to other units, consistency with mission, and academic quality.

Q: What kind of data will you base your decisions on?

A: It is important to note that the task force is making recommendations and not decisions. To arrive at those recommendations, the task force will review both quantitative and qualitative data as well as information provided from the university community. The recommendations will not be driven solely by numbers. Context surrounding programs will be considered to inform the recommendations.

Q: Is academic excellence being considered?

A: Yes. Academic quality is a tenet of the task force. Our discussions have focused on making recommendations that promote and embrace academic excellence. Strengthening our academic programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels is, in many ways, the foundation of our efforts.