Program Suspension/Discontinuation/Dissolution

AS-2596-03/FA - January 23-24, 2003

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the California State University (CSU) urge campus senates to review, or develop as appropriate, policy recommendations regarding processes and guidelines related to the suspension/discontinuation of academic programs or dissolution of academic departments; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge campus senates to ensure that their policies call for suspension/discontinuation/dissolution proposals to explicitly address employment options, informed by the applicable collective bargaining agreement, for the affected tenured and probationary faculty and permanent staff; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate CSU urge campus senates to take into consideration the principles articulated below as they modify or develop their policy recommendations. Policy related to the suspension/discontinuation/dissolution of programs should:

  • Clearly define the breadth of curricular elements encompassed (e.g., any sequence of courses leading to a formal degree option, certificate, or credential).

  • Identify the individuals/groups from which a formal request to suspend/discontinue a program may originate as well as to whom the request is made.

  • Include provisions for a formal review process comparable to the process utilized for the creation of academic programs. The factors considered in the review process should be as broad as possible and include:

    • In depth explanation of need for suspension / discontinuation / dissolution

    • Student enrollment, application, retention, and graduation patterns

    • Faculty recruitment and retention patterns

    • External funding patterns

    • Likely effects of suspension/discontinuation/dissolution on faculty, staff, and students

    • Likely effects of suspension/discontinuation/dissolution on other campus courses/programs, university mission, and service to the community, as well as the affected department

    • Input from affected alumni and community members

    • Program quality, cost, effective use of resources

    • What would be necessary in order to resume program

    • Recent program (internal and external) and/or accreditation reviews

    • Costs and benefits of suspension/discontinuation/dissolution

    • Complete list of courses that would not be offered and their relationship to other academic programs

  • Include criteria around which decisions can be made.

  • Specify timelines for the review.

  • Specify notification dates and cut-off date for accepting students should the decision be made to discontinue/suspend a program.

  • Provide viable mechanisms for students presently enrolled to complete their program of study.

  • Clearly identify the role of the campus academic senate, faculty, students, administrators and staff in the process.

  • Include identification of mechanisms to be employed to communicate suspension/discontinuation decisions to the campus community and prospective students.

RATIONALE: Any decision to suspend or discontinue academic programs and/or dissolve a department must 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 every available option to students, staff, and faculty affected by such decisions. The Senate is calling for a review of policies at this time due to concern that budget constraints may influence campus decisions regarding the suspension or discontinuation of programs as they seek to contain costs.


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