70 Low-Producing Programs Under Review

The Tennessee Board of Regents system has 70 low-producing university and community college programs under final review this year for possible elimination due to the low number of graduates. The review process is a part of TBR’s standard 3-year review cycle, which was put in place in 2003 as one of the system’s efforts to streamline its operations and reduce costs.

The policy adopted in 2003 set up a comprehensive analytical process for reviewing programs with low numbers of graduates to determine whether the programs should be eliminated, consolidated, placed on monitoring status or retained. The 70 programs under review this year are on monitoring status and will come up for possible termination at the end of the current three-year cycle in 2009.

The review process involves key personnel at each institution, including faculty members. The programs are identified for review based on criteria established by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. At the university level, Austin Peay State University has two programs on monitoring status, East Tennessee State University has three, Middle Tennessee State University has seven, Tennessee State University has twelve, Tennessee Tech University has five, and the University of Memphis has four. Among the community colleges, the number of programs on monitoring status ranges from none at Motlow State Community College to seven at Dyersburg State Community College. Information by institution on which programs are on monitoring status is here.

The initial review of low-producing programs in 2003 resulted in the board approving the elimination of 43 programs. Among them were master’s degrees in physical education, mathematics, and music education, as well as a B.S. in Industrial and Systems Engineering. At the community colleges, programs eliminated included A.A.S. programs in Biomedical Engineering Technology, Medical Assisting, and Office Administration.

In 2006, completing the first three-year cycle, the board voted to eliminate 34 academic programs at TBR universities and community colleges. In addition, the 70 programs under final review this year were placed on monitoring status.

The Tennessee Board of Regents is the nation’s sixth largest higher education system, governing 45 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 two-year colleges and 26 technology centers, providing programs in 90 of Tennessee’s 95 counties to over 180,000 students.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 24 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 140,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.