UNCG Campus Weekly

Campus Weekly is published each Wednesday when classes are in session. In the summer, it is published biweekly.

Forum on FTLC and Program Review

Some information and notes, as the newly named Faculty Teaching & Learning Commons and the work of the University APR committee were discussed at last week’s Faculty Forum:

The TLC (Teaching & Learning Center) no longer exists. Now, there is an FTLC.

Plans regarding the Faculty Teaching & Learning Commons were presented by Dr. Steve Roberson, dean of Undergraduate Studies. Among his comments:

  • Faculty and campus community will have an opportunity to meet and ask questions of the candidates for executive director of the FTLC. (The updated schedule is here – two times were recently adusted in the schedule.) He hopes the executive director can be in place at the middle of May.
  • In discussing what is envisioned for the Faculty Teaching & Learning Commons, which was reported earlier in Campus Weekly, he noted that “all I need to make all this happen in money.” Noting the tight financial situation at the university, he said, “We will incrementalize.”
  • Several times, he referred to “community” or “communities” of faculty, in envisioning the offerings of the commons.

Regarding the University Academic Program Review Committee’s work

Dr. Roy Schwartzman, chair of the University Academic Program Review Committee, restated the Faculty Senate’s charge directing the committee to look at three questions:

  • Does the unit report provide adequate evidence that the program is exceptionally weak or strong in quality?
  • Does the unit report provide adequate evidence that the program is exceptionally weak or strong in functions and demand?
  • Does the University Program Review Committee recommend that the Administration further review the resource commitment to the program based on the evidence in the unit report?

About the committee’s recently released report, he said, “What you see is a single voice of the committee” because all decisions were reached consensually.

The committee placed central emphasis on the unit committee reports. They did not introduce new evaluative criteria. He also spoke about the inherent difficulty in comparing programs across units.

Did they make a final judgement on performance – on whether each program is strong or weak? The university committee identified programs that each unit committee scored notably above or below the unit’s averages. Whether this score represents strength or weakness depends on how the criteria for evaluation are prioritized. Furthermore, according to Schwartzman, the overall strength or weakness of a program’s performance also relies on information unavailable in the stages of the process so far.

For example, the committee did not look at efficiency data or at how the programs fit into a vision of the future of the university. The committee’s report provides one set of pieces of a puzzle that can be completed when more is considered by the administration, he explained.

Schwartzman and Provost David H. Perrin (who had been seated) were asked about what happens now.

“I am engaged in conversations with individual deans,” the provost said. (He later added, in response to a question from a faculty member, that now is a key time for deans to be talking with department heads and other faculty.)

Some points the provost made as he responded to questions:

  • The primary purpose of Academic Program Review is to strengthen the university. He does not anticipate substantial cost-savings from this process.
  • The information the deans are providing “is invaluable,” he says. For example, they may know how the elimination of a program would have adverse effects on others.
  • On April 25, 2012, the spring meeting of the general faculty will be held. (Location/time is here.) At the meeting, the provost will make a presentation of his recommendations to the chancellor regarding Academic Program Review.
  • He believes that this process will be very helpful as the university looks toward creating its next Strategic Plan.
  • The APR timeline is posted at http://opa.uncg.edu/programreview/docs/Program_Review_Timeline_3-2-12.pdf.

At the end of the forum, John Lepri, chair-elect of Faculty Senate, spoke for a moment about the Faculty Senate’s Ad Hoc Committee on Academic Program Review. It is an advisory committee to the Faculty Senate. He encouraged any faculty members who had suggestions for this committee to send them to him.