Section 2.1 Guidelines for University-wide Academic Planning
Issued: May 2016
Replaces: September 2001
These Guidelines for University-wide academic planning are intended to provide the Office of the President and the Board of Trustees with the information and means to coordinate academic planning at a point between the operational level of the constituent institutions and the state-wide policy level of the IBHE.
Academic Planning in the Office of the President level is essentially coordinative. Proposals for new program requests; for program priority and program expansion requests; for reasonable and moderate extensions, and program review begin at the institutional level, where operational details can be managed and where proposals and reviews move through appropriate faculty and administrative channels. Because the missions and program structures of SIUC and SIUE differ, efforts to over-standardize the planning processes seem unwarranted and unnecessary.
With the present structure and assignment of responsibilities within SIU, coordination of academic planning in the Office of the President can be carried out most effectively if cooperation, openness, and timeliness are maximized at all levels of the process.
Given these assumptions, three areas of concern are central to the coordination of academic planning. The first is the program planning process itself, involving such matters as new programs, program expansions, off-campus programs, reasonable and moderate extensions, staffing needs, research and public service activities, special assistance programs, enrollments, program reviews, and the relation of all these matters to budgeting and new funding requests.
A second area includes various IBHE submission requirements, e.g., new program requests, program and institutional support budget requests, RAMP operating tables, and such miscellaneous reports as the Annual Report of Program Additions and Deletions; the Annual List of Accreditations, and the Faculty Work Load Report, and the possible use of these materials in preparing reports for the President and the Board.
The third area involves cooperative or inter-institutional programs and activities. Comments and guidelines relate to these three areas.
Both SIUC and SIUE have planning calendars, slightly different in their deadlines because of their different academic calendars. Essential to both is knowledge of what (1) new program requests, (2) program and institutional support budget requests, (3) special analytical studies, (4) off-campus program requests, and (5) reasonable and moderate extension requests are coming forward from the institutions for consideration by the President and/or the Board. Thoughtful, informed analysis of these matters and assurance that they are accurate and complete before presentation to the President and/or the Board can best take place if the Vice President for Academic Affairs is kept advised of them during their discussion and development at the campus level.
A three-stage reporting process:
- A report, formal or informal, to the Office of the President when one of the program matters cited above assumes sufficient form to have a separate identity.
- A more detailed report to the Office of the President at the time the matter is undergoing serious and intensive review through the appropriate institutional channels, with an indication of when it will be formally proposed to the President, or forwarded as an information item. This second report need not be a special one; it can consist of materials sent to the various review groups.
- After the program matter has been subjected to complete academic review and approved by the Chancellor, it should be formally submitted to the President for information and/or action. Some matters will require Board action.
This three-stage reporting process will keep the Office of the President regularly informed of matters as they develop. The phrase "assumes sufficient form to have a separate identity" does not refer to matters not yet developed beyond faculty discussion.
Information on such matters as staffing needs, research and public service activities, special assistance programs and enrollments come to the Office of the President in various formats, much of it in the form of RAMP operating tables. Comments on these matters are contained in the next section.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will work with the institutions to assure that information needed in program RAMP, Results Report, MWD, Program Inventory, Accreditation Report and other report documents is timely and accurate.
All of the points discussed thus far have funding implications. While program planning need not be constrained at the outset by an arbitrary dollar or percentage figure, at some point, the program request must be related to the six goals of the Illinois commitment, to institutional priorities and to the total budget request. Priorities and needs must be set and balanced. Our experience suggests that early and continuing discussions of program particulars and budget and program planning guidelines can lead to orderly development of a final budget request.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will work with appropriate officers in the Office of the President and at the institutions to improve upon the procedures developed for balancing funding priorities and needs within the program planning process, including matters of timing on the planning calendars, and between that process and the setting of the total budget request.
Submission of final RAMP Planning Documents to the Board of Trustees occurs at the June meeting. However, notice of the RAMP submissions will be provided to the Academic Matters Committee at its May meeting.
In addition to the new program requests and the program and institutional support budget requests submitted in the RAMP Planning Documents, the campuses prepare for the Board of Trustees each July a Results Report that contains general plans, priorities and objectives for the budget year and short-range future, with an indication of the strategy for addressing these matters. These materials, plus other information to be discussed in the next paragraph, form the primary basis for providing the President and the Board of Trustees access to institutional ideas, needs, goals, and plans for development. For this end to be achieved, however, an agreed-upon format for the Documents should be followed; and, as has already been indicated, this Office needs to know in advance what will be coming forward for consideration.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will work with appropriate institution officers in the preparation of the RAMP Planning Documents; and the three-stage process set forth in Guideline 1 will apply to the development of these documents.
In addition to the Planning Documents, the IBHE collects information on enrollments, off-campus programs, headcount majors by program, degrees conferred by program and level, and age and tenure status, salaries, and degrees earned by FTE faculty by discipline.
The Vice President for Academic Affairs will work with the appropriate institution officers to assure that a single consistent data record for academic matters is available for both internal and external use.
The materials discussed above provide the basis for reports to the President and the Board of Trustees (with or without recommendations for action) on academic affairs. Such reports may be scheduled on an annual basis, or they may be occasional, or both. They can include, but not be limited to, a presentation of program inventories and enrollments, a discussion of program reviews and an analysis of the results of these reviews, and analysis of proposed program development plans, and a presentation and analysis of proposed staffing plans. In an annual report a single one of these matters might be highlighted, inventories and enrollments in one year and program reviews in another, for instance.
Certain problems, which could arise in establishing regular reporting on academic affairs should be avoided to the extent possible. First, the reports and particularly any recommendations they might contain must be so constructed as to keep the Office of the President and the Board of Trustees clearly informed without involving them in excessive detail and without unduly involving them in the operational particulars of academic planning. Second, the reports must not simply duplicate material in the RAMP and other submissions; rather, they will use that information as the basis for presenting a brief, clear, complete, and coherent portrait, with appropriate analysis, of the academic whole. Third, the question of when the report should and can be made ought to be decided well in advance of the first report so that all concerned understand the extent to which it is a record of the immediate past, a snapshot of the present, and a projection for the future.
The Office of the President, working with the appropriate institution officers, will develop a structure for reports to the President and the Board on academic affairs, including a rationale of the nature and purpose of these reports. (See Attachment 2-A: IBHE Submission Requirements for New Program Requests and Reports to the Board of Trustees, p. 10).
2.1.2 Academic Affairs: Cooperative or Inter-institutional Programs
Inter-institutional programs are of two kinds: (a) those involving institutions outside SIU, and (b) those involving the two constituent institutions. The Office of the President needs to know what programs of the first kind now exist, and it needs to be informed when others are being considered.
The Chancellors of SIUC and SIUE will provide the President with inventories of existing inter-institutional programs involving institutions outside SIU and will inform the President when serious discussions are initiated with such institutions about potential instructional, research, or public service programs.
The potential for inter-institutional programs is complicated by the autonomy issue, the scarcity of resources, and the distance between the campuses. Nonetheless, that potential does exist and so do reasons why it should be further explored. Examples of existing inter-institutional cooperation have been the Ph.D. programs in history and education. New initiatives that hold promise of mutual educational or resource benefits should be explored. Examples of such possibilities are: additional graduate programs; considering how the libraries might cooperate in sharing holdings; and joint or cooperative purchasing practices.
During the course of academic program planning the Vice President for Academic Affairs, in cooperation with the appropriate officers of the constituent institutions, will identify areas appropriate for such expansions and the most effective modes for doing so.
These Guidelines look toward ends which are an orderly, informed, and professional coordination of academic matters at the university-wide level and a mode of providing the Office of the President and the Board of Trustees with a better understanding of these matters.