Reaffirming the Need for Consultation in Campus-based Program Reduction, Suspension, and Elimination Policies
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RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (ASCSU) recognize that the dramatic reduction in state-support for higher education produces pressure on the campuses of the CSU for program reduction, suspension, and elimination; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU reaffirm the primacy of the role of faculty in establishing and protecting the quality of educational offerings and the efficacy of policies regarding academic matters to campus presidents, provosts, deans, and department chairs; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge all campus senates of the CSU to review and, if necessary, update their policies concerning program reduction, elimination, and/or suspension as called for in AS-2891-09; and be it further
RESOLVED: That, while the ASCSU recognizes that emergency measures may appear to be justified by the magnitude of the current fiscal crisis, such measures should not eviscerate the primary role of faculty in control of the curriculum; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU reaffirm its commitment, as outlined in recent ASCSU resolutions, to faculty consultation in budget decisions (AS-2876-09/FGA); to documenting and reporting the impact of budget reductions on faculty and programs at both the campus and system levels (AS-2835-08/FGA); and to due process and active faculty consultation on program suspension, discontinuation, and/or dissolution (AS-2596-03/FA); and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU encourage campus senates to consider inclusion of an emergency- measures clause that protects the faculty role in curricular decision making (e.g., at a minimum to seek advice from local senate executive committees when considering abbreviated set processes and procedures); and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU recommend that particular care be given to consider maximally specifying terms and procedures (e.g., what is meant by consultation vs. notification, etc.) in order to outline as completely as possible those processes to be followed when program elimination or suspension is considered (e.g., which stakeholders should meet and in what venue). These considerations apply to both a campus’s regular Program Review Processes and for any potential emergency/abbreviated process; and be it further
RESOLVED: That the ASCSU distribute this resolution to the CSU Board of Trustees, the Chancellor, the campus presidents, the campus provosts, and local senate chairs.
RATIONALE: While the ASCSU acknowledges the need for academic planning to match available resources, it does not mean that faculty should not be involved in the “hard” decisions (e.g., across the board vs. narrower but deeper cuts to some programs and divisions).
There exists the perception of some groups that budget (or other) crises provide “cover” for action on the part of various elements of campus administration that may not be in accordance with faculty desires, or, more importantly with sound academic principles. Without accepting the merit of any such belief, it is clear that program discontinuation (and sometimes even suspension) is not an easily rectified event in the context of improved resources. For this reason, program discontinuation should be (rightly) seen as a very dramatic step.
Any decision to suspend or discontinue academic programs and/or dissolve a department should be made with the same care and thorough review accorded the creation of new programs. Moreover, there is the additional need to provide due process and reasonable consideration for any students, staff, and faculty affected by such decisions. These concerns regarding formal program suspension and elimination also apply to de facto program suspensions (e.g., via the application of new admission restrictions) and other actions that may have the effect of systematic reductions in program enrollment.
Unanimously – January 21-22, 2010