Curious about CAPE? Here’s everything you need to know

A student walks in front of Cherry Hall on Feb. 22.

Natasha Breu

Recent budget cuts affecting WKU’s academic programs have been a topic since last spring, when it was announced that every one of WKU’s academic programs would undergo an evaluation.

What is CAPE?

CAPE stands for “Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation.” It is part of WKU’s strategic plan and each academic program was classified as “grow/enhance,” “maintain,” “transform” or “suspend.” 

What does it mean to grow/enhance, maintain or suspend a program?

Maintain: “Healthy” programs that do not need alterations. This consists of about 50% of WKU’s programs.


Grow/enhance: Demand for these programs is greater than the supply. More resources for these programs are needed to meet the needs of students.

Suspend: Programs that will be phased out after the currently enrolled students finish the programs.

Transform: Programs in need of “systemic change in a fundamental way.”

Who is on the CAPE committee?

The committee consists of 18 members from the Faculty Senate, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, Graduate Council, Student Affairs, Global Learning and International Affairs and all five colleges.

How many programs did CAPE cut?

The CAPE process recommended suspension 101 out of 380 of WKU’s academic programs in April and was approved by the board of regents on April 12.

When will the changes take effect?

”Transformed” programs will begin transitioning in Spring 2020 and those programs will be ready by Fall 2020. “Suspended” programs will be phased out as students currently enrolled in those programs finish their degrees.

Which colleges have been affected most?

Ogden College of Science and Engineering – 36 suspended programs

Potter College of Arts and Letters – 26 suspended programs

College of Health and Human Services – 23 suspended programs

College of Education and Behavioral Sciences – 15 suspended programs

Gordon Ford College of Business – one suspended program

What’s next?

WKU’s Department of Sociology and Criminology is in the process of suspending three of its graduate programs: criminology, sociology and social responsibility and sustainable communities. 

Assistant News Editor Natasha Breu can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter @nnbreu.