In this week’s edition of The Index, staff writer Jessica Venvertloh reported that some Truman State University departments have overdue five-year program reviews. At least one department took 11 years to complete a program review, enough time to have done two reviews. Given that hellfire has not yet descended upon our University as punishment for this sin, it might be hard to tell if not completing these reviews has had any effect on department operations.
Right next to Venvertloh’s story, however, you’ll find an example of the good that comes from program reviews. Staff writer Rachel Becker reported that the Classical and Modern Languages Department has gotten Faculty Senate approval for a plan to restructure its majors to optimize their applicability in the job market and graduate studies. Department chair Lucy Lee said faculty decided to pursue this plan when they noticed trends in past program reviews that suggested consolidating majors would benefit the department. While it is too early to see if this experiment will actually reap departmental or University benefits — the plan still awaits approval from the Board of Governors — this still shows how program reviews are not fruitless.
We, The Index Editorial Board, think Truman departments should do their program reviews as scheduled. This is not a stance we should have to take; this is already a department requirement, albeit apparently loosely enforced, and it should not be a question whether a department fulfills a department requirement or not. The Classical and Modern Languages Department has proven this isn’t a silly requirement, either — it leads to meaningful outcomes. Perhaps we could see similar results from other departments’ program reviews if they actually completed them.