With the ever increasing rate of change in our society, academic institutions look carefully at the suite of degrees and certificates to ensure that they are meeting the future needs of the workforce and taking advantage of opportunities to develop new curriculums. While institutions are very adept at adding to their academic offerings, they seldom scrutinize existing offerings on a regular basis to ensure continued viability.
Adding new a new program or certificate requires careful analysis due the substantial investment in additional resources to ensure successful implementation. In most institutions this is normally delegated to those who are developing the new curriculum and thus have a predisposition to a positive outcome. Program review processes both internal to the institution and external agencies require certification that due diligence has been performed which demonstrates the need for a new curriculum both for employment prospects and potential student interest as well as considerations of market saturation. Often these studies are less than optimal and geared to the desired outcome of the driving faculty, department or school. An independent analysis of program viability would provide greater assurances of success because of the impartial nature of the detailed study. This study would serve the institution well in determining whether to advance this initiative and assign appropriate scarce resources as well as provide greater credence to external review entities that due diligence had been performed prior to submission for final approval.
Conversely, while institutions are extremely proficient at increasing the number of degrees and certificates, they are much more reluctant to study the viability of existing programs. In most instances the reluctance is due to the internal (and sometimes external) strife that ensues from sunsetting a program due to a reason such as student demand, employment outlook, change in institutional mission or competition for internal personnel and physical resources. The cost of maintaining an ailing program can be quite substantial in terms of resource requirements and future considerations. The engagement of an external entity like CEO to review existing programs would provide sufficient information to the institution to help inform and guide the decision making process. As in considerations with respect to adding to curriculum, the independent and impartial nature of the process involving CEO would serve the institution well in demonstrating due diligence in making difficult decisions that may not be uniformly popular.
Using historical enrollment data, departmental budget detail, employment statistics, nearest neighbor programs and recent admissions information provided by the institution, we will analyze individual or groups of academic programs offered by the institution. The report would include a detailed analysis based on the enrollment information, profitability and program cost analysis and, a trend analysis from admissions, market trends and local competition. Such data will provide information on comparative trends external to the institution as well as future trajectories in a particular discipline that bear on a student’s decision to pursue a certain course of study. The relatively inexpensive cost of the study would serve as a great investment in ensuring that the decision making process was facilitated by a complete, thorough, impartial and independent analysis by an external entity such as CEO.