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How do you add a program? Lots of committees

By TIFFENY GRIPPER / VN SPECIAL WRITER
On December 6, 2016

At the University of Detroit Mercy, the academic divisions are liberal arts, education, architecture, engineering, science, business, law and dental. 

Detroit Mercy has eight colleges, but they don’t mean anything without the programs.

Getting programs started can be a short process or a long one depending on multiple factors. 

To get started, someone, usually a professor, types up a proposal explaining what the new program would consist of.

After they give their proposal to the dean or department head, research must be done to see if there is a market for this program. 

The research gives the boards a chance to see if students would benefit from having this program. 

In addition to seeing if there is a market for the program they need to make sure that it doesn’t interfere with programs in other colleges. 

Secondly, the department head looks to see what courses are already being offered that could be in the potential new program.

After that, the proposal goes through a series of approval processes. 

It starts with the curriculum committee and then the discipline committee. 

After the proposal goes through the committees at the college it goes through the university.

The last step is everyone voting on it. 

Evan Peterson, director of undergraduate business programs said, “This process can take anywhere to a year or more, it just depends.”

Once the program is in place doesn’t mean it is safe from being cut.

Every seven years, programs go through a review, to see if any changes need to be done or if the program needs to be cut completely.

If enrollment has dropped or if they feel that majority of the students don’t need to be taught a skill anymore they will downsize that department. 

If the review board doesn’t want to get rid of the program, then a method needs to be figured out on how to increase enrollment. 

The college also needs to make sure that they have enough faculty members in that department. 

The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Education, Mark Denham said, “We rarely start a program where we would have to hire a completely new staff of faculty because we just don’t have the money to do that.”

That is why in recent years they have been focusing on adding minors because they are small programs and colleges already have the staff that is qualified to teach the classes. 

Some minors they have been recently added include legal administration, business law, and cybersecurity.

There are currently seven students pursuing the business law minor that just started officially this semester.

Since the business law minor is so new the School of Business Administration had to spread the word.

This is done through emailing advisors, posting the addition to the website, commercials and good old fashion word of mouth.

All the programs running effectively and efficiently wouldn’t be possible without the deans.

The dean oversees the budget, personnel, facilities, raising money from donors and academic programs.

Denham said that there are plans in place to remodel the basement, second floor, and third floor of Briggs as soon as he raises enough money from donors.

The donors are usually alumni and the college contacts them asking to meet with them.

The college spends around twelve to eighteen months rebuilding a relationship with the alum before they directly ask for a donation. 

If donors can’t donate, they normally work for a company or have connections with a business that offers internships.

No matter what, the focus at the end of the day are the students. 

Faculty wants to make sure that the classes being offered and required make the student well-rounded.

If the course isn’t doing that then the college might replace it with a new course if someone proposes one.

If the problem isn’t the course itself and the professor, then the professor would have to look at the evaluations students completed.

This is hard to accomplish because few students fill them out. 

Freshman Justin Torres said that if they aren’t mandatory he probably won’t do it. 

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