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Understanding the academic priorities of any university is essential to decision-making. Of particular importance is the forward thinking needed to ensure a suite of academic programs that will meet the needs of future students, and determining an allocation of resources to meet the needs of those programs. Prioritization is never an easy task, especially in an environment of shared governance with multiple constituencies, as well as limited resources; yet, the need for prioritization has perhaps never been greater because of a myriad of internal and external pressures facing higher education. With respect to specific and poignant internal challenges at Texas Woman's University (TWU), pressures have included:
  • dramatic enrollment increases;
  • competing requests for additional space;
  • competing requests for reallocation of faculty lines;
  • complexity of providing resources for three campuses;
  • the need for a new strategic plan/implementation of academic plan;
  • etc.

Similarly, TWU has been challenged by an external state and federal environment resulting in:

  • reduced state revenues (TWU lost approx. $9.8M in FY12);
  • increasing requirements for accountability (e.g., SB 172 6);
  • shifting expectations regarding online and face-to-face programming;
  • declining student financial aid;
  • expanding accreditation standards;
  • changes to rules and funding of research;
  • expanding acceptance of for-profit institutions to meet the educational needs of society;
  • etc.

Thus, while TWU stands at a unique cross-roads of having enjoyed immense recent success, enrollment growth has stretched programmatic capacities and increased the internal competition, while financial resources have dwindled at the state level. Clearly, as TWU contemplates its academic trajectory, demanding academic excellence of ourselves requires at least a rudimentary understanding of academic priorities.

page last updated 2/7/2013 8:47 AM