Academic Portfolio Review
About the Review
On Wednesday, January 18, President Casamento presented a series of recommendations designed to ensure that the Utica University portfolio of academic majors continues to align with and anticipate changing student interests as well as emerging career opportunities and the evolving needs of employers.
Please download the President's recommendations below (login required):
Community Comment Period
The recommendations will be presented to the University Board of Trustees for consideration following a two-week campus community comment period. Students, Faculty, and Staff are invited to submit comments, which will be forwarded in their entirety to the Trustees along with the President's recommendations.
Please note: All comments received will be sent unedited to the Trustees; however, any comments disparaging individuals or the institution will not be publicly displayed on this website. The public comment phase is open now through February 2, 2023.
How To Submit Your Comments
COMMENT VIA WEB FORM (login required)
COMMENT VIA EMAIL
Q. What is an academic portfolio review?
An academic portfolio review is a process successful academic institutions undertake to help determine and inform what academic majors they should be delivering. It is designed to strengthen the alignment between the University’s mission, its fiduciary responsibility, and the changing education marketplace in order to create the most meaningful educational opportunities for students and ensure a sustainable future for the University. The primary goal of this review is to ensure the University’s portfolio of majors anticipates student interest and employer demand. Ultimately, it will inform future direction, needs, and priorities and help determine what majors the University should and should not be delivering in the future.
Q. What process/methodology did the University follow in making these recommendations?
The Board of Trustees in August charged the University with undertaking an academic portfolio review designed to provide recommendations for any changes to credentials offered by the institution, including possible program design, redesign, modification, or sunsetting. A workgroup of faculty, staff, and academic administrators was appointed by the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs in September to review data and evaluate student interest and demand, enrollment patterns, and market trends associated with academic majors. Based on nine years of data, this evaluation carefully considered how each individual major fit with the future academic vision and strategic direction of the University. The workgroup met regularly over the course of the fall semester. The workgroup report as well as data provided by the Office of Institutional Effectiveness informed the President's recommendations.
Q. What are the next steps?
Following the President’s presentation to students, faculty, and staff on January 18, there will be a two-week public comment period during which the campus community will be invited to submit comments on the recommendations via web form. The recommendations and all community comments will be presented to the Trustees two weeks prior to the February 17 Board of Trustees meeting. The Trustees will then review the President’s recommendations, consider all comments, and make any necessary revisions to the recommendations prior to February 17.
Q. If a major is recommended for sunsetting, will the decision affect current or admitted students?
Any decision to sunset a particular major will mean that new students will no longer be admitted to that major. The decision will have no impact upon students currently enrolled in or accepted into the major. The University will continue fully resourcing and supporting the major until all current and admitted students have completed their program of study. In keeping with our ironclad commitment to promoting student success, we will sit down with every student enrolled in the affected majors and provide them with the support they need to complete their program within the scope of our four-year graduation guarantee.
Q. What role do financial considerations play in developing these recommendations?
Financial stability plays a role in virtually every decision made by our Board of Trustees and administrative leadership – the same may be said of any of our peer institutions. But while cost management is always part of the conversation, the academic portfolio review is principally driven by consideration of our mission and how best we can prepare our students for rewarding careers and fulfilling lives. Because tuition and fees account for the largest component of Utica University’s operating revenues, we have a responsibility to the individuals and families we serve to steward our resources in a way that reflects their interests and goals, as well as the demands of the marketplace. The deliberative process of adding, expanding, and discontinuing majors through periodic academic portfolio reviews is one way to meet this responsibility.
Q. What affect will these recommendations have on the quality of Utica’s General Education program?
We are looking thoughtfully and strategically at what our academic footprint should be as we plan for the future amid a shifting higher education marketplace. While much of the public discussion understandably centers around majors, the academic portfolio review pays appropriate attention to those programs that are essential to supporting general education and critical thinking learning goals. Although certain academic disciplines may not be delivered as standalone majors in the future, programs and courses in those disciplines will remain fundamental to a Utica University education.
Q. How can we be certain that these recommendations won’t negatively influence recruiting or public perception?
Utica University has a strong track record of success across a range of academic disciplines, and the portfolio review process is a means of building on that success. Based on these recommendations, we intend to begin sunsetting some majors due in large measure to low enrollment and declining student interest observed in national trends over the past two decades as well as a change in demographics in the Northeast. The majors impacted by these recommendations account for 4.4 percent of the current undergraduate student body
At the same time, we will be expanding and creating new opportunities for students in existing programs where there is growing demand. These decisions will enable the University to maintain and extend our leadership position in those majors that account for the overwhelming majority of current and prospective students. Currently, first-year applications are up about 30 percent from this time last year. This increase is attributable to strong student interest in the University’s signature degree programs.
With respect to public perception, as an institution we are doing what we have always done – responding to the needs of the communities we serve with innovation and dynamism. We are meeting market demand while remaining responsive to the needs and priorities of our students. We believe this will strengthen our public profile and better prepare us for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
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