Academic and Program Prioritization

Announcement of Completion of the Initial Phase of the Prioritization Initiative

Dear Howard University Community,

I am pleased to announce the completion of the initial phase of the Academic and Administrative Prioritization Initiative and the publication of the “Howard Forward Academic Program Prioritization Report and Recommendations.” The Board of Trustees approved the report and authorized implementation of the recommendations on Nov. 6, 2020.

The Academic and Administrative Program Prioritization Initiative, launched in Spring 2017, was a major undertaking by the University. Using a continuous improvement model, the process was created to:

  • strengthen the University’s overall academic program portfolio;
  • use best practices in developing new program offerings; and
  • ensure effective alignment of resources with University initiatives.

It is important to emphasize that the prioritization initiative has been and will continue to be robust, transparent and inclusive of a broad representation of the entire university community. Prioritization will continue to provide the foundation for academic program review, which builds on continuous improvement and will be implemented on a routine schedule going forward. This process is designed to ensure a portfolio of academic offerings that is contemporary and fulfills the University’s unique mission to serve people of the African diaspora, nation and the world. The recommendations emerged from the Provost’s review and assessment of the following:

  • ratings and scores compiled by the university-wide Program Prioritization Task Force (PPTF);
  • self-studies conducted by the respective academic units;
  • feedback from deans;
  • recommendations provided from accrediting agencies reviews; and
  • factors influencing program enrollment and sustainability.

Next Steps

The implementation of the recommendations will provide a foundation for fulfilling the key elements of the vision articulated in the University’s strategic plan, Howard Forward 2024, related to enhancing academic excellence, enhancing our research productivity and ensuring efficiency in our academic operations. By January 2021, the Office of the Provost will launch the following:

  • committees in each school and college to guide the implementation of the recommendations related to new program development and substantial program changes;
  • a new process for the approval and funding of new programs;
  • a multimillion-dollar fund to support new program development through the Office of Academic Innovation and Strategic Initiatives; and
  • an enhanced e-learning platform.

Program changes approved by the Board of Trustees will be implemented over a multiyear period, with appropriate adjustments for individual program circumstances. Particular attention will be devoted to assisting students currently enrolled in these programs either as they complete their degrees or with other interventions. Savings from consolidating and transitioning programs with low enrollment will be invested to meet a wide range of critical program needs, including faculty salaries, professional development, faculty hiring and startup packages, local infrastructure, equipment, research support, student aid and stipends, postdocs for research projects and other academic needs.

Throughout this initial phase of the prioritization process, the University has engaged students, faculty and staff to help us plan for the future. I want to express my deepest thanks and appreciation to all who served on the PPTF and the PPTF Evaluation Committee, attended focus group and town hall meetings, participated in other campus engagement activities and provided written comments via feedback surveys and our dedicated email. We will be scheduling a town hall meeting shortly to provide additional details regarding implementation and respond to any questions. Thank you.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.
Provost and Chief Academic Officer

Reference Materials

The University has conducted an institution-wide self-study every 10 years since its original accreditation was granted by Middle States in 1921. From 2008-2011, in addition to the 2009 self-study, the University conducted an extensive review of its academic programs and services through the Presidential Commission on Academic Renewal (PCAR). At the conclusion of PCAR, the Board of Trustees passed a resolution that resulted in the launching of new programs and academic renewal initiatives and the discontinuance or reconfiguration a number of academic programs. See summary of PCAR outcomes.