NAPTF Frequently Asked Questions

Process Used to Prioritize New Programs

1. How were ideas for new programs generated?

Answer: The Provost solicited suggestions for new academic programs from faculty and staff. Close to 80 suggested programs were submitted.

2. Why was a task force formed?

Answer: The task force was formed to ensure that new programs would have input from all constituents. The mission of the task force is:

“The New Academic Programs Task Force is charged with the task of developing a prioritized list of viable new academic programs, at the undergraduate level, that will contribute to enrollment growth and academic excellence at the University of Illinois at Springfield (UIS). Ideal academic programs are those that will:

  • provide preparation for occupations in demand at local, regional, and/or national levels for the foreseeable future,
  • meet high demand from prospective undergraduate students,
  • fit well with the UIS mission, vision, and location,
  • contribute to UIS’ reputation as a premier regional university, and
  • generate enrollment growthProgram possibilities will be evaluated using a variety of qualitative and quantitative data, including but not limited to occupational outlooks, economic trends, admissions applicant requests, and business plan projections. It is expected that the work of the Task Force will include developing a prioritized list of new, viable academic programs for UIS.”

3. How were the task force members chosen?

Answer: The Provost’s office chose half of the members and the Campus Senate chose half of the members. The voting members include 4 faculty, 3 deans, 2 staff, and one student. Many of the faculty members selected are also serving on curriculum- or budget-related Senate governance committees, such as Undergraduate Council, Committee on the Assessment of Student Learning, and Campus Planning & Budget Committee. Non-voting resource members of the task force include representatives from Career Services, Admissions, Brookens Library, and the Provost’s office.

4. The process indicates that new program proposals were evaluated based on several criteria, including student demand, occupational outlook, fit with campus mission, and resource needs. Did the committee rank these criteria in any way? Were there any overriding criteria?

Answer: No, the criteria were not ranked. Moreover, in committee deliberations of proposals, it was clear that the relative importance of criteria differed based on the specific program under consideration as well as across committee members. For example, Special Education is not included on the short list despite the fact that it is a degree program that has high student demand, strong occupational outlook, is likely to increase enrollment, and fits with the campus mission. This is because, while there is faculty interest within the relevant College, the current expansion plan is for elementary education and adding Special Education at the same time would be too much.

If there was any overriding “criterion” or emphasis, it was simply the mission of the task force–namely that new programs should attract new students. So, for example while a dance major fits with the mission of the campus—enhance artistic experiences for students—it is not clear that a dance major would attract a sufficient number of new students and have enough of a positive occupational outlook to justify the necessary resources.

5. Did the task force use outside information to evaluate the proposals. If so, what types of information were considered?

Answer: The task force used outside information, including the following:

  • Job Market: National, state and local occupation outlook data and salary data by major and occupation.
  • State and local economic development focus: Illinois Public Agenda for College and Career Success, Springfield Chamber of Commerce development plans, etc.
  • Student Demand: UIS requests for majors and high school graduate planned majors as indicated by the 2012 ACT exam data
  • Competition: Degree programs offered in central Illinois, the state, and neighboring statesThese data were compiled by staff in the Office of Admissions and Career Development Center.

6. Will proposed new programs be evaluated based on their projected financial performance?

Answer: Yes, all new programs that require new resources are expected to generate enough tuition revenue to cover costs once the program reaches full enrollment. Pro forma business plans, which include estimated revenues and costs by year, are being developed for the top proposed new programs that require new resources. A key point in these plans is the year in which the program would be expected to generate enough revenue to cover costs on an annual basis. In certain cases where adding a program adds to quality of the campus, complements our mission or addresses other needs, a program may be recommended that does not cover full costs through tuition generation.

7. Was there faculty and student input into the process? If so, where, when, and how?

Answer: There is faculty and student representation on the task force. Information from Admissions and from SGA regarding student interests was considered. Faculty members or programs were consulted by their respective Dean if information was needed or the faculty’s expertise was related to programs being discussed. The findings of the task force will be discussed in open forums with faculty and staff across the campus.

8. How did the task force address proposals for new academic programs that were already in the process of being considered by an academic department/college?

Answer: Departments proposing new programs, but not requesting new resources for start-up, were advised to advance those proposals through the normal governance process. Programs requiring new resources were put in the group of proposals to be further evaluated by the task force.


9. When will the new programs requiring additional resources be implemented?

Answer: The new programs will most likely start in Fall 2014 or later. New academic degree proposals will need to proceed through the normal governance process , including approval by the University of Illinois Board of Trustees and the Illinois Board of Higher Education. If a new program is a concentration within an existing major, then the final stage of approval is the campus level.

10. Which department(s) will be involved with the implementation of the new programs? Will any new departments be created?

Answer: When discussing possible new programs, the task force asked the deans to consult with existing UIS academic departments that may want to offer the program or be involved in an interdisciplinary collaboration. Based on the feedback received, some of the new programs will likely be housed in existing departments; however, other new programs may need to be offered through an interdisciplinary collaboration or a new department.

11. Will new faculty be hired?

Answer: Some new programs will necessitate the hiring of one or more new faculty prior to the start of the program and that is why those programs are being considered by the task force. Other new programs will not require the addition of new faculty resources in the short-run since the courses can be offered (or are already being offered) using existing faculty. As these programs grow there may be the need to add new faculty, but there would then be new tuition revenues generated to support the hiring of new faculty.

12. How will new programs recommended by the task force and subsequently implemented be evaluated?

Answer: At UIS, all academic programs are evaluated on an ongoing basis using instructional resource metrics and other indicators of quality on the regular program review cycle, and through the use of student learning outcomes and other means such as student/faculty feedback and alumni/employer surveys.

The Future

13. The committee began with almost 80 proposals and is now down to fewer than 20. Will the proposals that are not on the short list possibly be considered in the future?

Answer: The task force has maintained a list of all of the original proposals received. In the future, it is likely this list will be revisited and new or revised programs added. The intent is for UIS to continue to consider additional new academic programs in the future.

14. Will the NAPTF be an ongoing committee? What happens after this year?

Answer: Whether NAPTF will continue in its current structure is still being discussed, but the work of the task force has demonstrated the benefits of looking across colleges and disciplines when prioritizing programs that will require new resources and may involve interdisciplinary collaborations. This process can complement the governance process that looks in-depth at individual program proposals as they come forward.

15. Can departments/colleges still propose new programs like they did prior to the existence of the NAPTF?

Answer: Departments that are interested in starting new programs may submit program proposals through the normal governance process. Those proposals that require new resources may be subject to consideration by the NAPTF or some similar entity in the future.