Transform UMSL: Review of Academic Programs

The University of Missouri–St. Louis launched a review of its academic programs in fall 2017 as part of a four-campus initiative designed to ascertain programmatic areas of growth, strength and excellence to help guide, among other things, future distribution of resources.

As a part of the process, a broad-based Academic Program Prioritization Committee was established to lead the review and provide initial recommendations. The committee was comprised of members representing major academic units and University Senate/Assembly committees, and was chaired by Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies Chris Spilling.

The committee was charged with determining areas of growth, strength and excellence to help delineate programs that are already well known and in which UMSL should strengthen and support, and those programs that are on the rise and in which UMSL should invest. Additionally, the committee was charged with presenting recommendations that might include elimination or alteration of existing programs.

The committee conducted an intensive review of academic programs from the fall 2017 semester through the early spring 2018 semester. Their review included quantitative and qualitative analyses, as well as numerous exchanges with and input from the UMSL campus community. The committee submitted its report with recommendations to Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Kristin Sobolik on March 22, 2018. 

Using the committee report and its recommendations as a basis for broader discussions, the campus community was invited to participate in open forums held April 13 (faculty and staff) and April 19 (students) hosted by Provost Sobolik. Additionally, stakeholders were invited to attend the University Assembly Budget and Planning Committee meeting on April 4, and an anonymous online form collected feedback throughout the review process.

Discussions with internal and external constituents – primarily associated with units most affected by the committee’s recommendations – were held throughout April. During this period, data from AY17-18 and the Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE) programmatic analysis were added to the review process. The discussions and new data aided leadership in arriving at action items to best support the quest to transform UMSL into a model institution serving metropolitan populations, communities and businesses. Provost Sobolik shared a final report of Academic Program Prioritization Action Items with the campus community on May 7.

Many of the action items contained in the report support the committee’s recommendations or were actions already underway within the units themselves. There are also action items that were endorsed by the campus administration and academic units after the committee submitted its recommendations – based on new data and further discussions.

Going forward, the review process upon which the Academic Program Prioritization initiative was based will be an annual, ongoing function. UMSL will continue to review and invest in programs that best demonstrate growth in student enrollment or research or both. This laser-like focus best serves our students and community as we strive for excellence and positive outcomes.

Further information is available throughout this website to help inform and involve students, faculty and staff in the process. It contains data on UMSL programs, a list of committee members, FAQs and an online feedback mechanism.