FAQ

Template Completion Process

Who gets access to the online template? Is it one person per program or multiple people? Who will officially be notified that they have access, once it's up?

Each program will have one template “approver,” but multiple authors who can work in the online template. If you need to change the people involved, the approver can send an email to uaa_actf@uaa.alaska.edu requesting a change to either the authors or the approver.

Can we just cut-and-paste our answers from one template into another template?

If two programs are very similar, you may use the same information on more than one template.

How can multiple people work on the template?

We encourage teams to work offline, using the MS Word template and assign one person to enter the result in the PrioritizationPlus software.

The word count in Word and in the PrioritizationPlus software don't match.

The word count in Microsoft Word is based on words. The word count in PrioritizationPlus is based on characters (e.g., letters, punctuation). For example the following sentence is 4 words in Word and 10 words in PrioritizationPlus. "My program is supercalifragilisticexpealidocious."

Template

Are programs supposed to get their own data for the External Demand criterion?

Some data is provided but it is limited. You should in your narrative provide a thoughtful description of the external demand for your program, and don’t feel constrained by the limited “high demand” jobs definition.

On Essentiality … A priority… where does the focus belong on faculty student collaborations? (BA faculty  (with any students) or BA students?

We cannot make a decision for you – this is how you see yourselves in terms of the UAA 2017 Strategic Plan.

Outcomes Quality Is it just a count? # of peer reviewed publications? (note that AcTF members won’t know what are good journals / juried shows etc. )

It is up to your program, in the narrative, to present measures of quality and to describe why they indicate this – you can describe publications in good or peer-reviewed journals or participation in juried exhibitions. The faculty members reading your submission most likely won’t have the expertise to determine these criteria themselves.

Data

Who has access to the data?

Access to the data is available to all current faculty and emeriti at UAA. Template authors will find that their data is highlighted, but everyone gets access to data about all programs, in one big list.

Who do we talk with when data is incorrect?

Please use this email: UAA_OIR@uaa.alaska.edu for all questions about data. IR staff members will answer as quickly as possible.

Does commenting on the errors in entries in the data count against our word limit?

YES. If there is a true error in the data, let the data team know at the UAA_OIR@uaa.alaska.edu. If the issue is simply that the data is unclear, discuss this briefly in the template.

Software (PrioritizationPlus)

Is there training for the software?

A good introduction to the software can be found in a training video.

How do you remove a table once you have entered it into the software?

Click 'Edit Data' and then you get the DELETE button. It is not intuitive. If you saved it as an image in your write-up -- then just click on it and hit the delete key on your keyboard.

Why are there some categories that show up but I cannot enter anything?

These were original questions that were inactivated once the template was final. The software seems to be ignoring the 'inactive' command.

Why is the time listed not local (Alaska) time?

The software is a cloud service hosted in another state. They have not yet added time localization for display.

If we upload multiple images (charts), do they have to have different names?

Yes. The software does not rename your files, so uploading a second image with the same name will overwrite the first file. Note, as noted in the software training video you must first create a folder. This means that your files will not be overwritten by those for other templates.

Review Process

Will programs with no or few graduates automatically end up in lower categories?

The number of graduates does not determine into which category your program will be placed. Some programs, e.g., GERs, do not have any graduates. Others may have a lot of students in courses required for other majors, but not have a lot of graduates. Programs are looked at holistically and no one factor will make or break them.

Is UAA going to eliminate all the programs and functions that land in the Further Review category?

No, programs and functions that are placed in Further Review will NOT automatically be scheduled for elimination. Programs and functions in this category will be reviewed in greater detail and discussed by campus leadership, including faculty in the program under review; some programs may be reduced in size, others may be combined, others may be phased out.

I just don't see how this kind of process can be fair to small programs that might be "gems," but don't produce huge numbers of credit hours or graduates. How will our "gem" programs not get eliminated based on size?

The prioritization process does not privilege credit hour production in the evaluation. The prioritization process will employ multiple criteria for evaluation (please see Evaluation & Decision Protocol section of this website). Internal and external demand for programs, among other criteria, create a balanced approach and analysis overall.

Will each program have an explanation for the category in which it is placed?

There will be a very brief comment for each program.

Will the final report be visible to BOR and legislators?

The final report will be available to the public.

Other

What constitutes a new program?  Will they be categorized?

A program is considered new in the Program Prioritization Process if it was implemented or established any time after the beginning of Fall 2010 but not after the end of Spring 2013. Programs that began during this time period will not be categorized.

Why am I being told to fill out a template for a program that was deleted?

If a program’s deletion has been approved through all levels of review including the NWCCU by the end of September 2013, then you do not need to fill out a template for that program.  Please notify one of the AcTF co-chairs about the status of a deleted program as soon as possible.

Should I fill out a template for a program that we plan to delete or that is in the process of being deleted?

Yes, but you can simply put in the History text box that this program will be, or is being, deleted.  There is no need to complete the rest of the template.

Should I fill out a template for a program with suspended admission?

Yes, unless the department plans to delete it. If so, see the answer above.

I've just reviewed the AcTF's list of "programs." I noticed that some programs seem to completely overlap—why are they listed separately?

This process is not based on current funding structures. If two programs have different intended outcomes (e.g., program student learning outcomes) and any degree to which they have requirements that do not overlap or serve different student groups, they are different programs.

Service is a very important part of faculty contracts. Why isn't service seen as a program in and of itself?

This process is not based on the division of workloads. Faculty members teach, perform research and creative activity, and perform service, and this will not be changed by prioritization. The prioritization process considers which programs and functions are most important for UAA to invest in, and those areas will include teaching, research and creative activity, and service. Discrete service areas that require faculty buyouts (e.g., governance functions) will be considered individually as functions.

Why are there no program or function entries for non-funded research and some service?

Program prioritization is a process to rate programmatic activities of UAA against its stated priorities. It is not considering changing the nature of faculty positions. As such research cannot be considered: it is part of what faculty do. Trying to rate it separately would open the possibility of removing all tri-partite faculty. The same is true of service: this is a component of the workload. Certain functions might be changed or ended (see the function list), but faculty will still do service.

If a department's Sponsored Research is categorized in Further Review, what does that mean?

It is important to remember that there is no guarantee of a particular action being taken on any program just because it is in a particular category.  For example, not all of the programs in the Priority for Enhancement category will actually receive increased resources.  The same is true for programs in the Further Review category necessarily be reduced in funding or phased out. However, if a department's Sponsored Research is placed in the Further Review category, it will be looked at closely by the administration and PBAC.  It may be that the awards under review were too draining of university resources while not closely focused on UAA's priorities.  This process may help produce guidelines that can be used by faculty seeking external research funding to be able to select sources and programs that are more beneficial to UAA overall. It is also important to note that while the Program Prioritization Process is examining sponsored research for those departments that have such projects, there will not be a similar review of research that is funded through the regular tripartite workload.  This unfunded (not externally funded) is being privileged because it is inherent to the definition of a tripartite faculty workload.  No faculty will lose the research portion of their workload based on the Program Prioritization Process.

What happens to shared governance if Faculty Governance is categorized in Further Review?

Shared governance is part of the Board of Regents Policy: P03.01.010. Faculty, Staff, and Student Governance. This means it is a state mandated program and cannot be eliminated without Board of Regents approval. However, if Faculty Governance as a support function of the university is placed in the quintile 5, then it will be re-examined for ways to improve its efficacy and efficiency.  While the number of committees and their various functions could be reduced, reorganized, or restructured, shared governance cannot be phased out without a major revision to BOR policy.  Faculty Governance would need to be involved in its own restructuring if it were categorized in the Consider for Reduction or Phase Out category.  Further, the Support Task Force will be giving some feedback to each function it reviews that will help guide the campus in responding to its assessment.

What are the implications if a department's GER course(s) is (are) placed in Further Review?

It is possible that a department could have its GER course(s) removed as a GER or removed as a result of them being placed in the Further Review category.
UAA has already started on a project to more fully assess its GER, and it is not uncommon for an institution to begin restructuring its GER after completing a Program Prioritization Process.  However, the actual redesign of the GER is not accomplished through prioritization.  That would be a separate project undertaken by the campus if prioritization revealed the necessity for UAA to do so.

Why did UAA start the process with a model developed by Dr. Robert C. Dickeson?

UAA has contracted with Mr. Larry Goldstein on our program prioritization process.  Mr. Goldstein has completed trainings with Dr. Dickeson for many years, and uses a model based on one described in Dr. Robert Dickeson's Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services.

GER and a graduate program are very different. How can they be reasonably compared?

They must be compared. If UAA is to ensure that all programs match current priorities and that funding follows the priorities, then all aspects of the university from snow plowing to Ph.D.s must be reviewed. The criteria selected do apply to all programs. The template includes questions that are pertinent for each type of program.

Why should UAA engage in a process that seems to discourage looking for new money?

The program prioritization process is being implemented to increase money to the programs that need it.
The criteria used to assign programs to quintiles consider the value of programs that bring in money (internal and external). As a result this process encourages seeking new funding. By making the funding follow priorities and demonstrating that UAA updates or removes outdates programs, UAA will continue to demonstrate fiscal responsibility with state dollars. This removes an obstacle to increased state funding.