Sacramento State Faculty Senate discusses impaction criteria

Imran Majid

The Faculty Senate held its first meeting of the fall semester Wednesday to discuss three new items: program impaction, instructional program priority and academic program review.

The Impaction Task Force, established in February by the Senate, studied the nature of impaction at Sacramento State and developed a set of recommendations revising the criteria required to declare a major impacted.

While the proposal was completed during the spring, several new items and changes were made over the summer and will be read for the first time Sept. 5. The other two items will be read later in the fall.

“The policy for (impaction) is the Senate can say ‘yes we think this is impacted, we’re going to give you the four years,’” said Impaction Task Force Member Tony Sheppard. “But (it may be) dependent on you showing us more data, perhaps in two years. Perhaps you haven’t gathered very much data yet. In which case the Senate would say yes, contingent on a two-year review.”

According to the proposal, program impaction is a last resort. Normally it is a temporary process to address a persistent, extreme imbalance between a program’s student capacity and student demand.

At the campus level, an application for program impaction status will be treated for review as a substantive program change, and if granted by the campus, will be approved for four years. But the Senate can also require a program review after two years.

The proposal urges programs to strongly consider alternatives such as larger classrooms and improved advising before applying for impaction. If impaction is approved, programs must also propose a plan for ending impaction and submit to an annual California State University review.

The Senate also appointed an Instructional Program Priority Task Force. The task force is responsible for reviewing criteria related to resource allocation such as faculty positions and equipment funding. The task force is also tasked with submitting a proposal amending the current policy. 

According to the proposal, it is the responsibility of the campus to establish which academic programs will be given priority in academic planning, resource allocation and enrollment management.

The new proposal is due for a first reading Oct. 17 and outlines several prioritization criteria used to create ratings of each program’s strengths and weaknesses. It aims to assist the provost in resource-related decisions.

The Curriculum Policies Committee is also evaluating the academic review program in which student success is assessed and analyzed both internally and externally.  

The academic review program was first adapted as a three-year test run in 2007 and extended for two additional years thereafter.

The Curriculum Policies Committee is proposing a similar policy for permanent implementation and will be read Sept. 19.