A2P2 (Academic Affairs Program Prioritization)

A2P2 (Academic Affairs Program Prioritization)

Prioritization, Assessment, Program Review
  • Program Review
Average: 3.3 (24 votes)
Washington State University (WA)

A land-grant, very high research university, serving over 25,000 students in Pullman, and at campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities, and Vancouver, plus distance degree programs.

  • Institutions
  • Systems
  • Institutions
  • Systems


How to thoroughly and fairly analyze and categorize programs to support excellence, and to de-emphasize and/or eliminate unsuccessful or unnecessary programs and courses.

  • Utilize a valid and inclusive process so that results will have broad support across the institution.

  • Identify programs for budget growth and/or reduction.

  • Identify programs for enhancement, consolidation, or elimination.

  • Eliminate inefficient or unnecessary courses to maximize the university’s faculty resources.


A2P2 is a transparent and convincing process that should result in a broadly accepted consensus about the relative success/excellence of degree programs, as well as CILs (Centers, Institutes, Laboratories), that can be used for making budget decisions under conditions of both growth and retrenchment. It takes into account the multiple missions of the institution (research/scholarship; teaching and learning; outreach and engagement), as well as the relative strength of each expected of different programs.

The Tool provides a starting point for an institution to build consensus for and to implement a process that leads to greater focus on mission and excellence. Specifically, it systematically infuses wide participation and real transparency into a process typically fraught with mistrust and strife. The Toolbox includes: * Description of the process – Charge, Timeline, Phase I, Phase II, Self-Studies, Deans Review, Provost Decisions, Actions *Guidelines * Rubrics for each area under review – o research/scholarship; o teaching and learning; o outreach and engagement * Summary Tables

Can – and should – be modified by the Task Force to represent their agreed upon priorities and mission.


  • Number of high performing programs with enhanced support/funding

  • Number of under-enrolled/unnecessary courses eliminated

  • Number of degree programs/departments/CILs consolidated/reorganized/eliminate

* While A2P2 was designed and intended to lead to reallocation of resources to support excellence, it has – sadly – been used, so far, to more rationally target significant budget cuts. * Over 150 courses cut the first year; 150 currently being considered for 2nd year cuts; only half “clean-up,” the rest low-enrollment or related to options or degrees being phased out. * Seven departments to be consolidated or eliminated. * 12 degree programs and numerous options being phased out. See: http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/index.html http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/actions/

A2P2 has given WSU a more systematic and transparent way to view and review all of its academic programs, as a whole, than it has had before, which enables better decision-making for both the short and long term. While not universally embraced on-campus, the transparency of the process – including all of the data – obviates most questions about preference or fairness. A2P2 is highly regarded by policy makers, who question whether higher education places enough emphasis on efficiency & impact.


The “only” resources required were time commitments from individuals across the institution: * Provost’s charge and review/final decisions * Provost staff’s time – e.g., significant commitment of a vice-provost’s time * Task Force of respected “leaders” * Deans’ cooperation and engagement * Chairs’ participation

  • See above

  • Nothing unexpected, so far. We would like to see how this process plays out in a resource enhancement scenario

Data on course enrollments and degrees by program will be reviewed annually, and the same criteria applied for future consolidations, reductions, eliminations. Going forward, the Frameworks (rubrics) will be utilized for regular Academic Program Reviews, which were suspended for the two-year duration of this project.


Overview of Proposed Prioritization Process - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/Phase_I_Overview.doc Phase I Task Force Roster - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/a2p2_Roster10-2007.doc Process Overview Timeline - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/a2p2_Roster10-2007.doc Self-Review Process - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/Visio-self-review-fl... Academic Affairs Program Prioritization Criteria - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/AAPP_criteria.doc Guidelines to Areas for Self-Reviews - http://academic-prioritization.wsu.edu/P1_documents/AAPP_guidelines.doc 1. Program Prioritization Framework: Research | Scholarship Teaching and Learning Scholarship and Research Outreach and Engagement 2. Framework for Centers, Institutes, and Laboratories (CILs) 3. Guide for Support Programs 4. Program Data: (provided by Institutional Research for each program)

The project design team was led by Mary Doyle, PhD, formerly at WSU and currently Vice Chancellor for IT at UC Santa Cruz. The frameworks and process were based on Prioritizing Academic Programs and Services: Reallocating Resources to Achieve Strategic Balance, Robert C. Dickeson, 1999.

Larry James
Executive Vice Provost
French Ad 436
Pullman, Washington 99164-1046
Phone: 509.335.5581


Jane Sherman
Vice Provost for Academic Policy and Evaluation
410 11th AVE SE
Olympia, Washington 98501
Phone: 360.534.2322