Financial realities drive some universities to review all programs

October 31, 2012

In light of ongoing fiscal constraints and demands for public accountability, some Canadian universities are conducting a broad review of their programs and services to determine whether any should be cut or revised. The University of Guelph's Program Prioritization Process is designed to help the university address a projected $34-million funding gap over the next 4 years. UoGuelph's provost says the institution intends to make program review a part of its regular planning cycle as it aims to adopt a more evidence-based process for decision making. Earlier this year, Wilfrid Laurier University launched an Integrated Planning and Resource Management Initiative and will use the results to help identify which programs should be enhanced, maintained, transformed, or phased out. After completing a similar review, the University of Regina decided to retire its separate BFA degrees in acting, theatre, theatre studies, and design and stage management, and to roll them into a new BA program. Following a review of Vancouver Island University's 130 academic programs, 4 were recommended for elimination, 3 were suspended, 20 are to be enhanced, and 2 expanded. "The budget was one factor for sure" in conducting the review, says VIU's provost, but the main driver was program quality. University Affairs