April 18, 2017

State request on duplicate programs leads to on-campus scrutiny

Editor’s Note: This article corrects and clarifies an article that appeared in Vol 18, Issue 8 Cleveland Stater.


Five programs at Cleveland State University will need further evaluation before the state decides if they will continue as is at the university.

This comes after a report was sent to Cleveland State by the Ohio Department of Education (ODHE) in January asking the university to evaluate a list of programs that are offered at other public universities in the region. Those other universities are The University of Akron, Kent State University, and Youngstown State University.

These programs are being referred to as duplicated programs.

ODHE asked that each university in the region review the list of 56 total duplicated programs and divide them into two categories: List One and List Two.

List One should include the programs that the university justifies should continue to offer as a major, despite being offered at other universities in the region. List Two should include the duplicated programs that will need further evaluation before the university decides to continue to offer the program as is, collaborate with a state university in the region to offer a joint program, or suspend the program.

Cleveland State has to evaluate the list of duplicated programs and divide it into List One and List Two and send it to ODHE Dec. 31, 2017. The university’s board of trustees must approve the final list before it is sent to ODHE.

This final list will be the university’s decision on what programs should belong on List One and on List Two.

According to Jianping Zhu, Ph.D., provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, each institution makes the decisions on what happens to the programs.

“Individual institutions will organize the review process for the programs that need further review, and make final decisions on whether to offer a specific program as is, or collaborate with other institutions in the region, or suspend the program,” Zhu said in an email interview Sunday, April 2.

Before the final report is sent in December, progress reports with updates on the progress of the evaluation need to be sent to ODH April 30, 2017 and Sept. 30, 2017.

Six individuals from the university served on a committee to review the list of duplicate programs. The committee makes the recommendations for what programs should belong on List One and also the reasons why programs need further evaluation before the university recommends placing them on either List One or List Two.

Cleveland State’s faculty senate steering committee appointed three members and Cleveland State Provost Jianping Zhu, Ph.D., also appointed three.

The three committee members appointed by Provost Zhu are: Marius Boboc, Ed. D., curriculum and foundations department chair; Barbara Margolius, Ph.D., mathematics professor; and Peter Meiksins, honors program director. The three appointed by the faculty senate steering committee are: Marian Bleeke, Ph.D.; art department chair; Jeff Karem, Ph.D., English professor; and Nigamanth Sridhar, Ph.D., faculty senate president; according to Zhu.

As the main reason for programs going on List One (the list of retained programs despite duplication), the committee recommended a robust enrollment of 40 or more graduates in the last three years, 2012-2015, the same years used by ODHE to make the duplicate programs list.

Based on the fact that the programs graduated 40 or more students between 2012 and 2015, the committee recommended that 39 of the 56 duplicate programs be place on List One.

Six programs did not meet the robust enrollment of graduating 40 or more students from 2012-2015: African-American/Black Studies, Religion/Religious Studies, Drama and Dramatics/Theatre Arts General, Philosophy, Business/Managerial Economics, and Economics General.

However, the committee decided on reasons of justification to recommend the six above programs go on List One. The reasons for justification are the program: is identified by Cleveland State as a priority program to invest or enhance, or has made significant efforts to reduce program costs, or has no dedicated program faculty, or just missed the cut-off line of 40 graduates and has the potential to grow above the cut-off in the near future.

Another five programs will need to be further justified before the committee can recommend putting them on List One. Further justification is needed before it is decided to continue the program as is, or collaborate with regional state universities to offer a joint program, or suspend the program.

The five programs that need further justification are: Art History Criticism and Conservation, French Language and Literature, Physics, Sport and Fitness Administration/Management, and Physical Education Teaching and Coaching.

The last six programs on the duplicate programs list also need further review, according to Zhu.

The last six programs are: Industrial Engineering, Printmaking, Sculpture, Geology/Earth Science, Painting and Fine/Studio Arts.

These program recommendations concern the offering of the program as a major, and not the complete elimination of the program.

“The current review process is only about duplicate majors,” said Zhu in his email interview.

All of these decisions recommended by the committee are still only preliminary, Zhu stressed.

“I want to emphasize,” he said. “that no final decision has been made for any of the duplicate majors that need further review.”

Zhu said that the review process is intended to provide for students in all majors to reach their goals.

“The review process will provide opportunities for duplicate majors to identify ways to increase enrollment, improve efficiency, and explore possibilities for collaborations with other institutions in the region,” Zhu said in his email. “The goal is to optimize the use of our very limited resources, improve overall instruction quality, and enhance our support for key education pathways such as science, technology, engineering, mathematics and health professions while assuring that all students in all majors can have adequate resources to effectively achieve their goals.”

The Cleveland State board of trustees must approve the final report of recommendations for List One and List Two, which will be submitted to ODHE Dec. 31, 2017.


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