Program Review and Assessment

Program Prioritization


Background - Recent History and Why We are Using Program Prioritization (PP-PAR)

The campus community has requested program prioritization for more than a decade.  For example, there were periodic  informal discussions about the need for this type of process during the administration of Chancellor Anne Lydecker.  Subsequently, during the beginning stage of Reach for the Future in 2006, as that strategic planning process was labeled, there were meetings in the River Falls Public Library that included faculty, staff, and administrators; the item that received the most support, by far, was prioritization.  Since then the university community has worked collaboratively to utilize program prioritization.  In 2008-09 the Faculty Senate and Chancellor Connie Foster approved a prioritization process that was used to collect data, to provide evaluations of programs, and to rank them.  The conclusion reached after implementing the effort reads, in part, "Faculty Senate accepts the current program prioritization process as an appropriate and useful exercise that should be seen through to conclusion. . . . Faculty Senate recommends that program prioritization, upon revision, become an ongoing initiative . . ." 

During 2010-2013 the program prioritization process was reviewed by the Academic Program and Policy Committee, an ad hoc Committee on Program Prioritization, the Faculty Senate, and the Administration.  Input from the university community was critical to the collaborative development of the revised plan, and Faculty Senate approved the new program prioritization processes on three separate occasions (May 2, 2012, December 12, 2012, and May 8, 2013), with strong support from Chancellor Dean Van Galen.  The Faculty Senate vote on May 8, 2013 showed 22 votes in favor, 0 opposed, and 0 abstentions, and these votes initiated a "trial year" designed to test the process.

After conducting the first "trial year" of program prioritization some modifications of the process were approved by the Faculty Senate on February 5, 2014 by a vote of 18 in favor, 1 opposed, and 2 abstentions.



Program Prioritization Process Goals

First, the process is intended to provide useful information to the campus at large, to departments and programs to help with ongoing responsibilities such as assessment and program improvement, and to decision makers who determine staff and resource allocations.  It is critical to stress that the process is informative for decision makers, rather than deterministic.   

The second goal is to combine the program prioritization and program audit and review processes. Hence, the label PP-PAR (program prioritization and program audit and review).

A third goal of PP-PAR is to integrate program assessment into a single, combined process, creating synergies and efficiencies between program prioritization, program audit and review, and assessment.


Program Prioritization Files and Information

PP-PAR files and information are located on the university's T-drive, accessible to faculty, staff, and administrators through Falcon Share.  The files can also be accessed from university computers using the following path: Computer > Campus (\\ (t:) > Collaboration > Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment.

To determine when a program is scheduled for program prioritization, please consult the "PP-PAR Schedule," which can also be located following the above path.  This excel document is located within the Program Review folder.


Key Dates

2019 - 2020 Program Prioritization Deadlines and Tasks (partial listing)*

Program chairs should access the PP-PAR files on the T: drive for additional information and directions.  The upcoming tasks and deadlines include:

April 26:  Financial data percentages are due from departments with multiple programs (email to

May 10:  Strategic planning statements are due (email to

May 24:  Exit survey data - summary from the previous three academic years - is due (email to

TBD: Provost & Deans will receive information for scoring strategic planning statements.

TBD:  Provost & Deans submit scores for strategic planning statements.

September 13:  Faculty & IAS must have all of their information loaded and proofed in Activity Insight.

September 20:  Assessment reports and revised assessment plans are both due (email to

TBD: Program chairs will receive engagement data.

TBD: Engagement narratives (optional) are due (email to

TBD: PP-PAR Engagement Committee Members will receive information for scoring the "engagement exercise."

TBD: PP-PAR Engagement Committee Members will submit scores for the "engagement exercise."

* Dates are subject to revision, and appropriate notice will be provided if changes occur.

Programs in 2019 PP-PAR

The following programs are in the 2019 program prioritization cycle (i.e. 2019-20). The schedule listing when all programs will be reviewed is available at T:\Collaboration\Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment\ProgRev

  • Accounting BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • Animal Science BS (Also PAR)
  • Applied Computing - Collaborative BS
  • Applied Science BAS
  • Art BFA & BS (Also PAR)
  • Art Education BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • BFA (Fine Arts) BFA (Also PAR)
  • Biology BS & BA
  • Business Administration BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • Business Administration MBA (Also PAR)
  • Computer Science & Information Systems BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • Criminology BS
  • Dairy Science BS (Also PAR)
  • English BS & BA
  • Environmental Science BS
  • Food Science and Technology BS (Also PAR)
  • Geography BS & BA
  • Geology BS (Also PAR)
  • History BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • Montessori MSE
  • Music BS & BA
  • Music Education, Instrumental BME
  • Music Education, Vocal BME
  • Principal Licensure MSE
  • Psychology BS & BA
  • Reading MSE (Also PAR)
  • Secondary Education MSE Mathematics Secondary Education
  • Secondary Education MSE Professional Development Learning Community
  • Secondary Education MSE STEMTeach
  • Sociology BS & BA (Also PAR)
  • Sustainable Management - Collaborative BS (Also PAR)

Questions related to program prioritization should be directed to Associate Provost Wes Chapin, 104 North Hall, (715) 425-0629.

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