Sunday, November 16, 2014

Criteria, Metrics, and Questions: A First Draft

At the Senate meeting on November 3, the APPC shared a draft document offering some specific proposals for the parameters that PSU might use in its APP process.  This includes a set of six high­level criteria, together with associated metrics (capturing quantitative data) and questions (capturing qualitative data).

These items are shared in a draft, incomplete form that we hope will stimulate and focus a productive conversation as the APPC, the Senate, and the faculty as a whole work together to finalize the details for the APP process in the Academic Year 2014-15 . We welcome and strongly encourage any feedback that will help to improve the draft set of parameters that are described in the report.

As one example, APPC proposes to use the following six criteria as the basis for the scoring of academic programs:
  • Demand, including both internal demand (within PSU) and external demand. 
  • Quality, of program inputs and outcomes. 
  • Productivity, taking considerations of size and scope into account. 
  • Financial Performance, including revenue and costs. 
  • Relation to Mission, including contributions to knowledge, scholarship, and community engagement. 
  • Trajectory, including past history and future opportunities. 
This list reflects the attempts of the committee to capture the academic priorities of faculty at PSU, but its development was also informed by the lists of criteria that have been used as part of similar APP processes at other institutions. The criteria descriptions above are intended to be broadly interpreted, and there is no significance to the order in which they are listed.

Does this list cover all of the things that you consider as the important criteria for academic programs at PSU?  To get a full sense of exactly what our descriptions encompass, you'll need to download and read the full document (but it's only seven pages long)!  In particular, you'll see details of the metrics and questions that we're proposing as tools: to help identify specific data that will be needed and used in the APP scoring process; and to clarify and explain the meaning of each of the criteria in more concrete terms.  You'll also find out more about the constraints and the commitments that we're working with.

As an example, one issue that has already come up is the question of whether we have adequately captured the connections between academic programs and the research, scholarly, and creative work that is done across our campus.  Do the criteria and the proposed metrics and questions properly address this, or should we be adding a seventh item to our list of criteria to document this more explicitly?

If you have any thoughts about this, or any other parts of the draft report, we'd love to hear from you!