University of Idaho’s Vital, Sustainable Tomorrow Begins With Strategic Recommendations Today

Tuesday, January 20 2009

Jan. 20, 2009 NOTE: Provost Doug Baker and College of Education Dean Paul Rowland will be available to speak with members of media at 2 p.m. PT/3 p.m. MT today, Jan. 20. In Moscow, reporters can join Baker on campus in the Horizon Room of the Idaho Commons, Fourth Floor. Others can dial in for this media availability at 877-536-5794; enter participant code 237027. Written by Tania Thompson MOSCOW, Idaho – Today, University of Idaho President Steven Daley-Laursen gave a progress report to the university’s statewide community on prioritizing its more than 200 undergraduate and graduate academic programs, as part of the university’s overall strategic planning process “Our commitment is to focus, reduce, consolidate and reposition the university’s scope so that we may concentrate our time, space and fiscal resources toward our true strengths and competitive advantages; retain and build upon the quality of our programs; fully embrace and serve the immediate desires and needs of students; and ensure that we have real, relevant, lasting impact on the needs of our society,” Daley-Laursen said. After a lengthy process of assessment and evaluation, the first round of prioritization work has recommended action to close or consolidate 41 individual degree programs; the recommendation does not refer to departments. “These preliminary recommendations have no immediate employment implications for faculty or staff,” Daley-Laursen said, noting that program prioritization recommendations, which are part of the university’s long-term transformation process, are not necessarily linked to short-term, immediate budget-reduction needs. Similarly, for programs that are ultimately chosen for closure, all currently enrolled upper-division students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees in a timely manner, in accordance with state board policy. “This has been a thoughtful and important process to strengthen and focus the University of Idaho, and I am proud of how our academic leadership has focused on positioning the institution to lead our state in its commitment to students and society for a strong and sustainable future,” said Doug Baker, provost and executive vice president. A companion process, the university’s Request for Innovations, seeks to “transform who we are and what we do.” Daley-Laursen noted that 74 pre-proposals have been submitted by statewide university faculty, staff and students in response to the RFI, a process that is “now fully engaged focused on shaping and reconfiguring a new University of Idaho for our students and stakeholders of the 21st century.” He said another critical aspect of the strategic planning process is to form a workplace that is energizing and satisfying to university faculty and staff. Further recommendations to consolidate, strengthen and transform additional programs remain in development and will be announced as the university’s program prioritization and innovations processes continue to merge and shape the university’s transformation. Daley-Laursen asked that the university community “recognize that prioritization of our programs – whether resulting in disinvestment, in re-investment or in some other form of transformation – is the right and necessary work of our community. It is a form of leadership, accountability and self-determination to ensure the best, most effective future for our University of Idaho.” Daley-Laursen said program prioritization and the RFI are part of how the university is focused on implementing its strategic plan. “This current stage of our strategic work is imperative for our long-term viability and effectiveness, and we’ve been about it for some time,” said Daley-Laursen. He said the importance of the university’s strategic work becomes more important during a time of state and global economic challenge. “While budget holdbacks in our state have added impetus to this ongoing process of focusing for the future, these program prioritization recommendations are accentuated, but not driven solely by recent financial concerns,” he said. “There are other difficult choices to be made, interconnected to this strategic prioritization process, which are directly in response to state-mandated budget reductions.” The academic program prioritization process has been led by the provost and Provost’s Council, Faculty Council and others in executive and academic leadership positions. University policies and processes now will guide further review of the proposals and lead to final decisions. Ultimately, the recommendations must be approved by the university’s Board of Regents. View the list of preliminary recommendations online:
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About the University of Idaho Founded in 1889, the University of Idaho is the state’s flagship higher-education institution and its principal graduate education and research university, bringing insight and innovation to the state, the nation and the world. University researchers attract nearly $100 million in research grants and contracts each year; the University of Idaho is the only institution in the state to earn the prestigious Carnegie Foundation ranking for high research activity. The university’s student population includes first-generation college students and ethnically diverse scholars. Offering more than 150 degree options in 10 colleges, the university combines the strengths of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. For information, visit Media Contact: Tania Thompson, University Communications, (208) 885-6567, (208) 310-9736 cell,

About the University of Idaho
The University of Idaho helps students to succeed and become leaders. Its land-grant mission furthers innovative scholarly and creative research to grow Idaho's economy and serve a statewide community. From its main campus in Moscow, Idaho, to 70 research and academic locations statewide, U-Idaho emphasizes real-world application as part of its student experience. U-Idaho combines the strength of a large university with the intimacy of small learning communities. It is home to the Vandals. For information, visit