Provost announces independent course evaluation at Faculty Senate meeting

Provost Cheryl Stevens fields questions from faculty members during the faculty senate meeting on Aug. 29, 2019. The provost discussed reallocation of money in the senate budget, representation of minority student populations and a state orchestrated program evaluation.

Jack Dobbs

At the first WKU Faculty Senate meeting of the 2019-2020 academic year, Provost Cheryl Stevens announced WKU will undergo a second course evaluation, which is expected to begin this fall.

During the meeting, Stevens said the evaluation has been contracted by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education with Gray Associates Inc., a higher education consulting firm. Stevens said the evaluation will not “overlap” with the Comprehensive Academic Program Evaluation (CAPE) that took place last year.

“What [this evaluation] does is it uses university data and they will provide a report that identifies the cost of each academic program and the market value with respect to things like student interest and jobs 10 years out,” Stevens said. 

Stevens said the evaluation will not provide recommendations to the university for cutting or eliminating programs. Instead the study will focus on market need and job availability, she said. 

Stevens also said the data collected through the evaluation with Gray Associates will help with revitalizing programs in the CAPE study.

“When you talk about transforming a program like we have identified through CAPE, knowing whether there is a market for that program helps departments figure out how they might change that program to align better with what the market needs are,” Stevens said. 

Stevens said the evaluation will begin in a few months and once the launch meeting for the study has taken place, the evaluation will begin. She said results from the study are expected to arrive in the early spring.

“The quicker we get it in, the quicker we’ll get our results,” Stevens said.

Stevens said the study will come at no cost to WKU.

Reporter Jack Dobbs can be reached at 270-745-0655 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @jackrdobbs.