Guilford College conducts program prioritization and review

For the first time in over five years, Guilford College’s academic programs and student organizations are under a microscope. In an email sent by the Division of Student Affairs on Oct. 5, Guilfordians were notified that the college is engaged in a review of its academic and administrative programs.

In the email, the Division of Student Affairs attributes this reexamination to the recent economic and financial difficulties that Guilford has experienced during the coronavirus pandemic. Over 23 programs are listed as under review. Majors with over 40 students were not placed under review.

The Guilford Student Body Association hosted a student town hall meeting to address concerns raised by students. The meeting was hosted via Zoom and facilitated by Dean of Students Steve Mencarini. Dr. Carol Moore, the interim president, also attended to answer questions and address concerns.

Program prioritization, Dr. Moore explained, is the process of reviewing what programs a college offers, i.e. academic majors or student programs, and removing some programs based on certain factors. Guilford College bases this process on data collected from a Program Prioritization Task Force, which is forwarded to the Board of Trustees. Based on the information gathered from the task force, the Board of Trustees will make program decisions in early December.

This year’s program prioritization, in addition to student involvement, is based on student interest, credits a major generates towards general education requirements, cost, retention rates, completion rates and placement rates after graduation. Administration is also looking at program relevance to Guilford College’s mission, career potential over the next three to five years and how a major relates to Guilford’s Edge.

Administrative offices are also being reviewed. Financial Aid, Student Affairs, the Guilford Edge, the Registrar’s Office, Academic Support, Athletics, Business and Finance and many other non-classroom offices were asked to submit documentation to participate in the review. The task force analyzes how a program serves students, how it contributes to the mission of Guilford College and its potential for improving the program.

The phasing out of academic programs will depend on where students are in the program. If a major is discontinued, the college will work with students within the major, on an individual basis, through graduation.

“If a major that is reviewed is removed, students will still be able to graduate with their major and the program will continue to be available as a minor,” Dr. Moore clarified during the town hall Zoom. “This is a standard process. Every institution goes through this on a cyclical basis. Majors come into popularity and then they fade out of popularity and the institution cannot be all things to all people.”

One student asked if the administration was nervous about students leaving Guilford and choosing another institution.

“I am a member of the retention task force Carol put together,” Mencarini responded. “We are specifically working and thinking about how to make sure students feel supported as the program college station moves forward. We want to make sure they can continue at Guilford.”

In addition to the student town hall, Dr. Moore plans to attend upcoming GSBA meetings to answer questions students may have regarding the program review. She encouraged students to email her, stop by her office or attend future forums to listen to questions or raise concerns about the prioritization process. The Board of Trustees will meet in early December and students will be notified immediately of decisions they make.