When students graduate, it is important they have a degree that prepares them for employment in their chosen field. The Council’s academic program approval process ensures that degrees awarded from Kentucky’s public universities and KCTCS help students compete in a global economy.
Why Kentucky needs an academic program approval process?
The academic program review process is a key responsibility of state coordinating boards like the Council. The process ensures that academic programs are consistent with state and institutional strategic priorities, academic quality measures, market demand and cost. The process also assures that public resources are used efficiently for the greater good of the Commonwealth.
Why does CPE conduct program reviews?
CPE is required by legislation (KRS 164.020 (16)) to review existing academic programs to determine:
- Consistency with the institution’s mission and the state's strategic agenda for postsecondary education.
- Alignment with the priorities in the strategic implementation plan for achieving the goals outlined in the strategic agenda.
- Elimination of unnecessary duplication of programs within and among institutions.
- Efforts to create cooperative programs with other institutions through traditional means, or by use of distance learning technology and electronic resources, to achieve effective and efficient program delivery.
How has the process changed?
While many changes to the policy occurred over the years, the previous process failed to systematically and effectively report key employment elements such as job placement and market data, and there were inconsistencies in reporting metrics related to program costs. In addition, campuses noted issues with combining academic quality and productivity measures in the same process.
Based on CPE board members’ interest in financial stewardship, the statutory criteria and data issues from past reviews, CPE's board called for a more data-driven, effective program review process. To assist with innovating the review process, the Council requested bids from higher education consulting firms. with Gray Associates being ultimately awarded the contract.
What is Gray Associates' role?
The Council selected Gray Associates based on their expertise in productivity metrics. The firm also has access to multiple data sources, which assists the sophisticated analyses needed to guide CPE's work on this project.
Gray Associates will assist the Council to create a methodology that provides campuses with consistent, detailed information to help guide internal decisions about program needs and improvement. In particular, Gray’s methodology and data sources provide valuable information about program costs and employer needs, information that most institutions have struggled to provide in past program reviews cycles.
How does this new process affect the institutions?
This process will not replace each institution's internal program review process. Instead, it supplements and complements campus program review processes. It provides additional sources of data and analyses that faculty and campus leadership cannot easily compile. Ideally, these data will help campuses demonstrate the value of programs to students, accreditors, oversight bodies, and the general public. In addition, it will be helpful to campuses as they focus on continuous improvement of academic programs.
CPE wants each institution to evaluate its current and potential programs to design an optimal portfolio. As with every iteration of the statewide program review policy, CPE relies heavily on the expertise of campuses to make the decisions that are right for them.
Learn more about Kentucky's education goals by viewing Stronger By Degrees, the Council's strategic agenda for postsecondary and adult education.