Weight a Minute!

Here’s a handmade response to a recent directive from academic leaders here at ASU.

the weight of program prioritization

Our administration has initiated a rather hasty program review and prioritzation process.  They’ve handed down a list of questions that we have been directed to use to conduct academic program review.  Based upon those answers, we are to rate these programs according to a scale they’ve also handed down: programs will be rated as high, strong, good, new or in transition, must reassess or restructure, or candidate for disinvestment or elimination.

However, because the questions do not stipulate the relative weights of the answers we will provide, we have no way of connecting the answers to the ratings.  We’ve been asked to comment on this process of program review, using the drawing above, I’ve recommended that they make the values of each answer more clear.  The scale on the left could weigh a program and produce a result, but the means of measurement or values are hidden.  The scale on the right makes visible the values at play.  In other words:  There’s an elephant in the room.   And it’s beginning to stink up the place.