Curricular Allocations, Policies and Procedures Governing

Effective Date: 

Responsible University Office And Contact Person

Policy Statement: 

Under the curricular allocations system, institutions may offer only those instructional programs and courses that have been approved for them by the State Board of Higher Education.

In the area of curriculum and instruction—as in other areas of its operation—the Board functions in accordance with well-thought-out policies. These policies guide the Board in acting and inform the institutions about the general principles the Board will observe as it deals with issues in the areas of curriculum and instruction. During the period 1973‑1976, the Board and its Committee on Instruction, Research, and Public Service Programs reviewed policies in respect to curricular allocations, institutional guidelines, program duplication and elimination, and program review. Following are summaries of policy statements adopted during that review.

Board Posture Toward Curricular Allocations

1.            The Board of Higher Education seeks to be sensitive to and aware of the educational needs of the state, needs that the Oregon University System ought, within its general mission, to serve.

2.            The Board welcomes the efforts of its institutions to plan vigorously for meeting the changing needs for public higher education in Oregon, consistent with the missions of the institutions, and bearing always in mind that the Board must assess institutional requests for new programs in the light of whether the program can be demonstrated to be in the best interests of the state as a whole, and within the economic capacity of the state to support.

                It is to be emphasized that curricular planning includes not alone identification of unmet educational needs and the development of coursework designed to serve them; it includes, as well, the responsibility to evaluate existing programs in some systematic, orderly way, and to reduce or to eliminate those whose continuance at current levels "cannot be justified by defensible criteria."

3.            The Board's decisions on instructional requests for authorization of new instructional programs must rest upon a solid base of factual data relating to:

a.            The extent and nature of the state's need for the proposed new program (considering the existence of any similar programs already being offered in the System or by the community colleges or independent colleges and universities).

b.            The appropriateness of the proposed new program to the institution's mission and objectives.

c.         The capacity of the requesting institution to offer a program of substantial quality.

d.         Costs to the state—both initial and long term—of financing a program of reasonable quality of the kind being requested.

The outline endorsed by the Board March 23, 1976, as the basis for developing requests for authorization of new degree and certificate programs, is included as an Appendix A, Guidelines for Review of New Programs.

Basic Premises Underlying Curricular Allocations

1.         Based upon more than 45 years of corporate experience in the field, the State Board of Higher Education reaffirms its support of the principles of curricular allocations as being fundamental to effective curricular planning and development within the Oregon University System.

2.            Board's reaffirmations of curricular allocations rest on the following premises:

a.            A system of coordinated development of collegiate curricula is vital to Oregon since it enables the conservation of limited resources and their allocation in accordance with a strategy that assures adequate availability of educational opportunities for qualified youths.

b.            Not all duplication of curricula is wasteful. Duplication of courses or of curricular programs is an evil only when it results in unnecessarily costly courses or instructional programs, or a reduction in the quality of the courses or programs either existing or to be offered.

In many instances, student interest in and need for given courses, or for access to given instructional programs, is sufficiently great that these courses or programs can be offered at two or more institutions without unnecessarily high costs and without reduction in the quality of the offering.

c.             The concept of differential functions for institutions lies at the heart of the curricular allocations concept. Such differentiation promotes:

(1)          Specialization by the institutions, leading to the development of high-quality programs in curricular areas assigned any given institution. This is particularly critical in the professional and graduate areas, where anything less than a program of the first order puts Oregon students at a genuine disadvantage. Limitation of institutions to certain specified professional and graduate programs lessens the possibility that funds needed to maintain these programs at a high level of excellence will be drawn off for support of other programs the institution might otherwise seek to establish.

(2)          Effective concentration of the state's limited resources in the development of at least one high quality program in a given professional or graduate area, in lieu of several anemic, deficient ones.

d.            Within certain professional, semi-professional, or graduate areas, requiring costly equipment, highly specialized faculty, and/or unique building facilities, a single institution should be given exclusive responsibility for development of a program of excellence. Other System institutions wishing to offer the prerequisite or initial courses in the field should be authorized to do so only if the program they intend offering is keyed to that of the institution having exclusive jurisdiction in the subject area.

e.            The assignment of exclusive jurisdiction to an institution cannot be considered irrevocable. Population shifts, changes in career choices, and other economic and social changes require that curricular allocations be adaptable to changing needs. There must be avenues for reassessing curricular allocations with a view to changing them where circumstances warrant.

                Nonetheless, whatever curricular allocations are in effect at any given moment must be clearly understood by institutions as binding, and must be adhered to until and unless, on the evidence available, the Board changes the allocations.

f.             In meeting its curricular responsibilities, the Board should have as its primary consideration the assurance of adequate availability of educational opportunities for qualified youth without unnecessary or unwise duplication of educational resources.

Graduate and Professional Education

Graduate programs and some professional programs (both undergraduate and graduate) tend to cost more than other programs. Without an allocations system in these areas, the resources of the state will be inadequate to the needs of providing a truly high-quality program at any single institution in the state.

However, the Board recognizes that in some graduate and in some professional areas, characterized by widespread student interest and moderate costs, it is feasible for the System to establish new (additional) programs to serve additional students (some of whom would find it difficult financially to enroll in the existing programs) in lieu of continued expansion of existing programs. In considering institutional requests for authorization of graduate and/or professional programs: 1.              The Board will consider each request on its merits. Institutions making such requests will be expected to evaluate their proposals for the Board in such terms as the following:

a.         The relationship of the proposed program to the objectives of the institution as these are apparent in the approved System and institutional guidelines.

b.            The relationship of the proposed program to existing System programs in the same field. Is the new program intended to supplement, complement, or duplicate existing System program? In the light of the existing System programs in the same field, why is the proposed new program needed? Is it designed to serve primarily a regional need? A state need?

c.             The growth prospects of the proposed program. How many students will it serve now? In the immediate future? In the distant future?

d.            If it seems pertinent to the subject area in question, the employment opportunities for persons prepared in the proposed program.

e.            The capacity of the institution to offer a high-quality program in the subject area being considered.

(1)          What facilities has the institution appropriated to the needs of a high-quality program in the field (library, laboratory, or other facilities and equipment)?

(2)          How many faculty members are qualified to participate in the program?

(3)          Does the institution have such related undergraduate and graduate programs as may be essential to give needed support to the proposed new program?

(4)          What elements of the program, if any, are presently in operation in the institution?

(5)          In instances in which the institution has an undergraduate program in the subject area or field in question, has the undergraduate program been fully accredited by the appropriate accrediting agency?

f.             The cost implications of the proposed program—both current and capital costs. What is estimated to be the total costs of instituting a high-quality program in the field in question—both immediate and long-range costs?

g.            The relationship of the proposed new program to future aspirations of the institution. Is the proposed program the first of several curricular steps the institution has in mind in reaching a long-term goal? What are the next steps to be, if the Board approves the program presently proposed?

h.         Projected student credit hour cost of instruction in the proposed program. Given the estimated costs of operating a program of excellence in the fields in question and the number of students who can be expected to enroll, will the student credit hour cost be a reasonable one? If not, can the student credit hour cost be justified on any rational basis?

2.            The Board will seek to inform itself concerning at least three other relevant questions:

a.            What is likely to be the impact of the proposed program upon similar programs in the System? Professional programs tend to be expensive programs. If, by the addition of a second or third graduate and/or professional program in the same field in the System, there would appear to be a threat to the continued accreditation of an existing program, the Board will wish to give approval to the new program only if the advantages of such approval outweigh the disadvantages.

b.            Can the same program be offered more efficiently or to the benefit of more students in some other institution of the System?

c.             What other alternative means are there for meeting the needs that have been identified in the proposal?

General Policies Applying to Professional Programs. The following general policies will guide the Board in assessing institutional requests for authorization of professional programs. The Board will:

1.            Approve a new professional program only if the Board feels assured of the availability, at the time or in the immediate future, of sufficient funds to develop the program to a respectable standing, to enable it to become accredited, and, once accredited, to maintain its accreditation. Cost estimates should be in terms of an ongoing, high-quality program—not a minimal, beginning program.

2.            As a general principle, establish new professional programs, not before offered by the System, at the most appropriate institution, considering such factors as: institutional mission, the locus in the System of such supporting programs and other institutional or community resources as are required to give strength to the new program, the location in which the program would be accessible to the most students.

3.            Act on the principle that as a general policy, with some provision for justifiable and planned exceptions for cause, if the System's first program in a professional field is situated at the University of Oregon or Oregon State University, the second authorized program should be developed where it can serve the largest number of students at the least personal financial cost. The program at the resident institution would serve the entire state; the second program would serve primarily the needs of the students in the region in which the institution is located.

As a general principle, be reluctant to approve any professional program that, as it is conceived, cannot, within a reasonable period of time, be accredited. A professional education should offer a student the basis for advancement in the field and flexibility of employment

Original Source: 
OUS Board Policy