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K-State Today

December 5, 2023

Academic Program Review and Revitalization investments

Submitted by Chuck Taber

Dear Colleagues, 

As our university moved out of the pandemic several years ago, I announced a university initiative to design and implement a process to support universitywide academic program review and revitalization, or APRR. Thanks to the work of the members of the APRR Task Force and the APRR review team and our academic department heads, faculty and staff, Kansas State University has made a radical shift in the way we conduct academic program review. That shift is one of the ways in which we will shape our program offerings as we accelerate academic innovation and excellence to meet our aspirations as a model next-generation land-grant university. Today I am happy to share our progress and announce our first awards of strategic investment funds to five academic programs resulting from APRR review. 

As I stated in my introduction to the APRR Discussion Guide, K-State's Academic Program Review and Revitalization encourages faculty conversations about their academic programs with the goal of identifying ways to meet the changing needs of students with high quality education programs. 

The goals of APRR have been to establish a common framework, process and set of metrics to:

  • Gain a more holistic view of our academic portfolio of offerings to students.
  • Identify programs for improvement, investment and growth.
  • Provide an internally developed decision support tool for faculty and academic leadership.
  • Drive innovative curriculum and continuous program improvement.
  • Promote academic excellence and accountability.
  • Support the long-term financial viability of K-State by assuring we meet contemporary student and market demands.

After a year developing the program and a successful pilot process year, the APRR inaugural implementation year has officially come to a close.

Shortly before the fall 2023 semester began, an Academic Program Review and Revitalization review team was brought together from the existing APRR Task Force to design and implement a review process for the APRR reports. The review team was composed of the following:

  • Tanya González, interim associate provost for institutional effectiveness, chair. 
  • Jenny Bormann, professor of animal sciences and industry and assistant dean, College of Agriculture. 
  • Gary Clark, senior associate dean, Carl R. Ice College of Engineering. 
  • Royce Ann Collins, professor of educational leadership, College of Education.
  • Ellyn Mulcahy, professor and head, Master of Public Health program, College of Veterinary Medicine.
  • Scott Tanona, associate dean for academic affairs, College of Arts and Sciences. 

During this first year, the reviewers were tasked with identifying programs whose APRR reports used the provided APRR Power BI data sets to engage in robust faculty conversations that resulted in 1) identifying the health of the program, and 2) developing program goals and/or action items. 

Twenty-three programs were invited to submit investment proposals, 14 of which submitted. We are pleased to announce the five programs that were awarded investments of up to $25,000 each:

  • Department of modern languages for program updates to better serve heritage speakers.
  • Department of social transformation studies' intercultural competency certificate to be developed online.
  • Department of interior architecture and industrial design to develop Design Thinking.
  • Department of personal financial planning to developing a personal financial planning course for high schools.
  • Department of applied human sciences' early childhood education degree program updates to align with industry and student needs.

As with any initial implementation, lessons are learned to help improve the process. The APRR review team is currently working on updates to the APRR process including improvements to the APRR report tool, development of an APRR policy and process, alignments with the updated KBOR program review expectations, and guidance for those programs with external accreditation processes. 

While revision work continues, it is important to note that the FY24 APRR process provides an opportunity for every program to apply for APRR investment funds if the proposal is accompanied by written approval from the college dean. We hope this streamlines the review and award processes moving forward. 

The FY24 APRR will launch at 8 a.m. on Jan. 23, 2024, via a Zoom workshop that will share how to begin the conversations and tips for successful submissions. Reports will be due on May 30, 2024. 

I want to thank everyone who contributed over three years to build today's APRR program. I believe a firm foundation has been laid for periodic comprehensive program review which will serve our students, our faculty, and our university well as we look to an exciting future for Kansas State University as a model next-generation land-grant university


Chuck Taber
Provost and executive vice president