Programs assessed for viability

Annual reviews will ensure college is responsive to community needs

To ensure Seattle Central continues to meet the needs of the community, Seattle Central’s administration will review all instructional programs each year. Using a process developed for the entire Seattle Colleges District, programs will undergo a viability assessment. This data-driven evaluation gauges student and community demand, enrollment levels and trends, costs and other metrics to ensure Seattle Central maintains the optimal assortment of programs.

After reviewing initial program data this past summer, Vice President of Instruction Bradley Lane identified programs that met the following criteria:

  • Enrollments decreased while costs increased
  • Student-faculty ratios decreased while costs increased
  • Enrollment decreased to a greater degree than the college’s overall enrollment

For the 2017-18 academic year, Lane identified Business Transfer, Information Technology, Parent Education, Respiratory Care, Social and Human Services and Seattle Vocational Institute’s Cosmetology program as candidates for further review. This will be a collaborative process, with input from and discussions with faculty. This assessment may result in recommendations to strengthen programs, improve efficiency or shift resources as appropriate.

College administration will work with program faculty in future quarters to develop an action plan for improving enrollment or efficiency if recommendations are identified. Administrative decisions to close programs will only be made after attempts to rectify issues prove unsuccessful.

The impetus for a more standardized program viability assessment came from the District, which recognized that they were taking place only on an intermittent basis at each college. After development by the vice presidents of Instruction, the Chancellor’s Executive Cabinet approved the new assessments, which are not connected to the qualitative review process that faculty perform on a regular basis.