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MU academic task force meets with faculty council

The University of Missouri Task Force on Academic Program Analysis, Enhancement, and Opportunities met with the MU faculty council Thursday to discuss its plan to re-evaluate the university’s academic programs.

The task force released its Phase I Report Sept. 1. The report outlines the data being used and collected to evaluate Mizzou’s programs.

“There’s a lot of things that programs do that we cannot measure quantitatively that are critically important,” said task force co-chair Cooper Drury. “So we want to get that input from people around campus.”

Drury said the task force has already met with all the deans at the university. He said the faculty council was the third group they’ve had discussions with.

“The big take-home message is just the enormity of their task,” said Clark Peters, a faculty council member and a social work associate professor. “You always want more. One of my colleagues brought up that it’s really hard to be critical because we don’t have findings.”

Faculty council members asked the task force chairs if they were considering academic programs at other UM campuses to help make decisions.

“We are aware of and have some data within the system of numbers of graduates,” co-chair Matthew Martens said to the group. “It will be hard to do at individual program level, because we don’t have the data to compare to other campuses.”

Some faculty council members questioned whether the program reshuffle would mean taking money from weaker academic programs and simply giving them to others.

Drury said it was not the task force’s job to find ways to cut costs to the university, but rather to strengthen its academic programs.

“We would basically have more educational outcomes, greater opportunities for students, and great opportunities for research,” he said.

The task force will continue meeting with groups to get feedback and suggestions throughout the semester. Drury said it will be meeting with faculty from each college within the next week or two.

A final recommendation report to the provost’s office is due Jan. 15.

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