College of Science, Engineering and Technology

Budget Review Team - College of Science Engineering and Technology


Preliminary Report to the Board of Regents


The CSET BPR workgroup met on Oct. 17 and finalized its ratings for all academic degree programs in the college. An academic “program” was defined to be those areas of study falling into a particular CIP code for undergraduate programs. For graduate programs, each MS degree was considered a program.

Each department made an initial recommendation for program ratings in the areas of Essentiality, Demand, Quality, Cost Effectiveness, Opportunity, and Overall. The ratings were based on the following scale. A rating of “3” indicated a program that is vital and critical to the mission of MSU and the CSET. These programs should not be considered for reduction in resources. Programs rated as “2” are those that, while not critical or absolutely essential to the institutional mission, are significant in the value and quality they add to CSET and to MSU. These programs could be reduced or even eliminated and MSU would survive. However, their absence or reduction would result in a fundamentally different university in terms of its ability to meet its comprehensive mission to the region, attract quality students and faculty, and maintain its high academic reputation. Essentially all of CSET’s graduate programs fall into this category. Programs rated as “1” will be recommended for suspension or reduction in resources.

The workgroup also reviewed annual budget statements from each of CSET’s six ancillary budget centers including the Watershed Studies Institute (WSI), the Hancock Biological Station (HBS), the Mid-America Remote Sensing Center (MARC), the Chemical Services Laboratory (CSL), the Engineering Institute, and the Science Resource Center (SRC). Recommendations were considered for efficiencies and cost savings in these areas.

The workgroup’s next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 31. Topics for discussion will include discussion of cost savings in operational procedures, including efficiencies in course section sizes, alternate delivery formats, and other administrative and organizational arrangements. In addition, the chair will encourage discussion of strategic goals, programmatic vision, new academic programs, and other areas of future growth.


The CSET BPR Team met on Wednesday, Sept. 19 from 3:30- 5:15 pm. The team decided that for the purposes of academic program review and prioritization, a “Program” would be defined as those undergraduate degree programs falling under a specific CIP code. Each graduate degree program would constitute a “Program” as well. The team adopted a set of metrics/inputs to guide in the assessment and prioritization of each Program in the five areas of  Essentiality, Demand, Quality, Cost Effectiveness, and Opportunity. Those metrics include:


  • Alignment with university/college mission
  • Alignment with national/state goals and STEM initiatives
  • Provision of academic courses to other majors; service role of program
  • Economic Impact
  • Responsiveness to identified areas of need


  • Enrollment in program
  • Graduation rates and trends
  • Enrollment in service courses; credit hour generation
  • Graduate/Professional opportunities for graduates


  • Instruction in major or program (ex, from Senior Surveys)
  • Graduate/Professional school matriculation
  • Performance on national metrics within the discipline
  • Accreditations; awards; recognitions
  • Contribution to institution’s reputation
  • Placement rates
  • Student academic profiles

 Cost Effectiveness

  • Ratio of credit hour generation to budgeted faculty
  • Ratio of majors to faculty
  • Ratio of total costs of delivery to faculty
  • Equipment and space requirements
  • Outside Resources/Gifts/Alumni giving; revenue generated
  • Faculty Productivity and Output
  • Personnel costs


  • Capacity for Growth
  • Potential for online or alternative delivery formats resulting in savings
  • Collaborative Vision; potential for key partnerships
  • Ability to address projected area(s) of need

After evaluation of Programs based on these criteria, each Program will be placed into one of three categories. Category 3 – Program is critical and essential to MSU/CSET mission and should be protected. Category 2 – Program is not critical, but is important and desirable to MSU/CSET mission and should be retained, perhaps with appropriate steps to ensure efficiency and cost effectiveness. Category 1 – program is a candidate for restructuring or suspension, with reallocation of resources.

Team members representing each academic department will make recommendations for the ratings of Programs within their academic unit. The entire team will discuss these recommendations and endorse their acceptance or make modifications as necessary. These discussions will take place at the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 10 at 3:30 pm.

Team members have also been asked to turn their attention to the evaluation of non-degree cost centers including departmental/college operating budgets, research centers, and ancillary support units. Detailed review of these areas is pending.


The first meeting of the CSET BPR team took place on Sept. 5, 2012. Dean Cobb provided background information on the charge to the committee and the process by which the team will conduct its work. Team members discussed their views on the definition of a “program” for the purposes of this process. Team members were asked to submit their input on appropriate metrics to be used in the prioritization and evaluation of academic degree programs. These will be reviewed at the next meeting of the team. A Blackboard site was set up to facilitate the sharing of program metrics and data. A standing meeting time of Wednesdays at 3:30 pm was adopted, with an initial plan to meet every other week. Next meeting scheduled for Sept. 19, 2012.

Team Members

Robin Zhang

Ricky Cox

David Roach

Tim Johnston

Hamid Kobraei

Abdul Yarali

Cathy Bazar

Thomas Werfel

Tom Timmons

Harry Fannin

George Kipphut

Ted Thiede

Ed Thome

Danny Claiborne

Bob Pervine

Steve Cobb (Chair)