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.   

Second, the university is transitioning from a seven-year program review process to a six-year program review process. One goal of program prioritization is to combine the two processes.  Hence, the label PP-PAR (program prioritization and program audit and review) has been used. 

Third, programs are currently required to file annual assessment reports.  Another goal of PP-PAR is to integrate the annual assessment reports 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 whether or not your 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

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:

Date to be Determined:  All departments with multiple programs should submit the percentages of resources being allocated to each of their programs if any changes have occurred (to

May 5:  Strategic planning statements are due (to

May 19:  Exit survey data is due (to

August 31:  Faculty must have all of their information loaded and proofed in Activity Insight.

September 15: Assessment plans and assessment reports are both due (to

November 15:  Program chairs will receive engagement data and request for financial data percentages (only for departments with more than one program).

November 22:  Engagement reports are submitted by program chairs to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (i.e. emailed to

Decenber 15: Financial data percentages are submitted by department chairs to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (i.e. emailed to

December  6:  PP-PAR Engagement Committee Members will receive information regarding how to score the "engagement exercise."

December 31: 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 2017 PP-PAR

The following programs are in the 2017 program prioritization cycle (i.e. 2017-18). The schedule listing when all programs will be reviewed is available at T:\Collaboration\Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment\ProgRev

Agricultural Business BS (also in PAR)

Agricultural Education BS

Agricultural Education MS

Agricultural Engineering Technology BS (also in PAR)

Agricultural Studies BS

Communication Studies BS & BA

Conservation & Environmental Planning BS

Counseling MSE

Crop and Soil Science BS (also in PAR)

Early Childhood Education BS

Economics BS & BA (also in PAR)

Geography BS & BA (also in PAR)

International Studies BS & BA (also in PAR)

Journalism BS & BA

Marketing Communications BS & BA (also in PAR)

Mathematics BS & BA

Social Studies, Broad Field BS & BA (also in PAR)

Social Work BSW

Stage and Screen Arts BS & BA

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

Contact Us

Academic Affairs
M-F, 7:45 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
104 North Hall