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University of Nebraska–Lincoln

Procedures to be Invoked for Significant Budget Reallocations and Reductions

FEBRUARY 10, 1993

University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Criteria
Preface | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | General Issues | General Guidelines | Criteria | Amendment | Appendix
     
  V. CRITERIA

The criteria that shall be used for evaluating specific programs (in relation to the preceding general issues and guidelines) are:

   
A. Criteria for Academic Programs

Three alternative types of actions will be considered in the review of academic programs. These are: 1) maintaining or increasing program support; 2) reduction or elimination; and 3) reorganization. Though these measures are not entirely mutually exclusive, they are sufficiently distinct in character to require differing sets of criteria to control their application.

A number of criteria, both positive and negative, are included to guide discussions and decisions about reducing, eliminating, or reorganizing a program. Given the great diversity of academic programs, these criteria do not include all considerations which may be applicable to individual programs. It is understood that additional considerations are not rendered irrelevant by their omission and may therefore be considered. It also should not be assumed that all stated are of equal weight, or that a program will be "scored" by the algebraic sum of its positive and negative features.

  1. Criteria for reduction or elimination

The following criteria will be applied in determining whether to recommend that a program be reduced. The criteria under a. will be used to assist in identifying programs in which reductions may be feasible. The criteria under b. and c. will then be considered in determining which programs should not be recommended for reduction or elimination.

    a. Criteria in support of reduction or elimination

      1) The program's present and probable future demand is insufficient to justify its maintenance at existing levels of support. Insufficient demand may be indicated by significant decline in one or more of these areas over a protracted period:

        a) the number of completed applications for admission to the program;

        b) the student credit hours generated in lower division, upper division, professional, and/or graduate level courses in the program;

        c) the number of students who complete majors or degrees in the program;

        d) in the case of instructional programs designed to prepare graduates for specific employment, the market demand for graduates of the program;

        e) in the case of service programs, the level of demand for the service provided;

        f) in the case of research programs, the quality and quantity of research being conducted;

        g) in the case of research programs, the level of external funding, given the relative availability of funds.

      2) The program would normally be expected to be accredited but is not; or it is exposed to a substantial risk of loss of accreditation. If the program is not appropriate for accreditation, the program has been deemed to be of a quality or size that raises questions concerning its viability or continuation.

      3) The program's productivity relative to the university's investment in faculty, staff, and equipment, facilities, or other resources has declined significantly.

        a) In the case of instructional programs, a significant decline in productivity might be indicated by a decrease in the generation of student credit hours of all courses per full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty over the past five years relative to UNL enrollment trends and by a low level of student credit hours per full-time equivalent (FTE) faculty in comparison to that of UNL's peer institutions and/or similar programs at UNL.

        b) In the case of non-instructional programs, productivity shall, where possible, be measured in terms of units of output appropriate to the program's mission.

      4) The instructional productivity of a program is substantially less than the average for UNL as a whole. The level of instruction and the mode of instruction appropriate to the program shall be considered, including particularly the average number of contact hours carried by the faculty.

      5) The program's reduction or elimination will not substantially impair the viability or quality of other UNL programs.

      6) The program's contribution to the UNL missions of instruction, research, and service is sufficiently marginal not to justify maintenance of its present size.

    b. Criteria indicating that elimination is inadvisable

      1) The program has achieved a national or international reputation for quality as indicated by objective evaluations.

      2) The program supplies significant instruction, research, or service that UNL is better equipped to supply than other colleges or universities.

      3) The program is the only one of its kind within the State of Nebraska.

      4) The program is an essential program for every university.

      5) The program's elimination would have a substantially negative impact on education and societal concerns in Nebraska.

      6) The program's elimination would result in substantial loss of revenue currently derived from grants, contracts, endowments or gifts.

      7) The program represents a substantial capital investment in specialized physical plant or equipment that could not be effectively redirected to alternative uses.

      8) The program is central to maintaining the university's affirmative action goals.

      9) The program gives the University of Nebraska-Lincoln its distinctive character.

    c. Criteria indicating that reduction is inadvisable

      1) The program's nature is such that reduction would impair the critical mass necessary to have adequate quality.

      2) The program cannot be reduced without a substantial risk to accreditation.

      3) Current projections indicate that demand for the program or its graduates will increase substantially within the next five years.

      4) Scholarly research or creative activity of the faculty within this program, as shown by publications, creative productions, honors and awards, external funding, or other objective measure, is higher than others in the same or related peer disciplines.

  2. Criteria for reorganization

    a. Criteria supporting reorganization

      1) Two or more programs have sufficient overlap in subject matter and approach or disciplinary method, and a substantial similarity or affinity of objectives such that economies of operation or improvement in quality may reasonably be expected from their consolidation.

      2) The clarity of the program's identity and function will be increased by transfer to or consolidation with another program.

      3) The nature and function of the program is such that its support might appropriately be transferred in whole or part to grant, contract, user fees, or other state agencies.

    b. Criteria indicating that reorganization is inadvisable

      1) The consolidation or transfer would create a program sufficiently uncommon within American higher education so as to render recruitment and retention of quality students and faculty difficult.

      2) The consolidation or restructuring would endanger the quality and/or established accreditation status, where applicable, of one or more of the programs affected.

      3) The programs, though dealing with similar subject matter, are substantially different in orientation, objective, or clientele.

      4) The cost reduction of consolidation or transfer would be so modest as to make such reorganization rather pointless.

B. Criteria for Support and Service Programs

Any decision to reduce, eliminate, or consolidate support and service programs should be subject to review because of the possible impact of such action on another unit. Reductions, elimination, or reorganizations made without regard for quality or impact on personnel and clients can be detrimental to the university, and therefore to the success of academic programs.

Three types of actions will be considered in the review of support and service programs. These are 1) maintaining or increasing the program; 2) reduction or elimination; and 3) reorganization. The following criteria are for use in the overall review.

  1. Criteria for reduction or elimination

    a. Criteria in support of reduction or elimination

      1) Opportunities for significant cost reductions for essential services through:

  * purchase of services of similar or higher quality at lower cost from external providers; or obtaining them at no cost through partnerships with the private sector

* substitution of services that meet university needs, but at lower cost

      2) Services are redundant with those provided by other units or levels within UNL or state government

      3) Demand by faculty, students or administration for the service is modest or low.

      4) Services are determined to be less essential for the performance and strength of UNL academic programs.

    b. Criteria indicating that reduction or elimination is inadvisable

      1) Similar essential services are otherwise unavailable.

      2) Similar essential services are available from alternative providers only at increased cost or at great inconvenience to users.

      3) Services available from alternative providers are inferior in quality or level of service provided.

      4) Services are interdependent with and directly supportive of academic functions.

      5) Services are mandated by federal or state statute, funding agency regulations, or state administrative rules and regulations.

      6) Services are essentially self-supporting, resulting in limited opportunity for significant budget savings.

      7) Costs to the university in public support and image are greater than the monetary savings incurred.

      8) Reduction or elimination of the services would transfer responsibility to another unit without a significant overall cost savings.

      9) Loss of income generated by the services would be detrimental to the university.

      10) The nature and function of the program is such that its costs might appropriately be transferred in whole or part to grant, contract, user fees, or other state agencies.

  2. Criteria for reorganization

    a. Criteria supporting reorganization

      1) Two or more programs have a substantial similarity or affinity of objectives such that economics of operation or improvement in quality may reasonably be expected from their consolidation.

      2) The clarity of the program's identity and function will be increased by transfer to or consolidation with another program.

      3) The nature and function of the program is such that its costs might appropriately be transferred in whole or part to contract, user fees, or other state agencies.

    b. Criteria indicating that reorganization is inadvisable

      1) Consolidation or restructuring would endanger the quality and/or established accreditation status, where applicable, of one or more of the academic programs supported.

      2) The cost reduction of consolidation or transfer would be so modest as to make such reorganization rather pointless.

             
     
Preface | Phase 1 | Phase 2 | Phase 3 | General Issues | General Guidelines | Criteria | Amendment | Appendix