2000-2-4Academic Program Prioritization, Revitalization and Rationalization

Responsible Executive:
Vice-President, Academic & Student Success
Vice-President, Finance & Administration
Issue Date:
November 24, 2011
Supersedes Date:
November 24, 2011
Last Review:
October 31, 2016
Last Revision:
October 31, 2016

Upon request, the college will provide a copy of this policy in an alternate format.

Academic program prioritization, revitalization and rationalization are intended to maintain and enhance academic programming quality while limiting adverse impacts on student access. Demographic shifts, new technologies, changes in employment trends, and global competition will lead to changing student markets and the need for changes to the academic programming. Therefore, careful attention to on-going program assessment, enhancement and revitalization is necessary. As well, the suspension or cancellation of inefficient or ineffective programs must be considered as part of the effort to maintain relevant and strong academic programming.

This policy describes a review, prioritization, revitalization and rationalization model that objectively assesses and prioritizes academic programs on the basis of established criteria that consider the need and demand for programs, their operational efficiency and effectiveness, alignment with College priorities, and the quality of the programs.


  1. All programs will be reviewed and assessed annually using the performance measures and criteria set out in Appendix A.
  2. The performance measures and criteria may be modified from time to time.
  3. Programs that achieve low program rankings as a result of the assessment will be identified for the Revitalization process or, possibly, Rationalization (suspension or cancellation).
  4. Programs not identified for revitalization or rationalization may, nevertheless, have significant performance shortfalls with respect to one or more of the performance measures. These programs and their performance shortfalls will be identified. The program department will address the program performance shortfalls.
  5. The identification of programs with respect to rationalization, revitalization and performance shortfalls will be determined by the senior academic officer(s), in consultation with the Learning Services Committee.
  6. Programs identified for revitalization and performance shortfalls will immediately develop a program plan to revitalize the program or address the specific performance shortfalls.
  7. The identification of programs with respect to rationalization, revitalization and performance shortfalls and the resulting development of plans and supporting budgets and their approval will follow the schedule set out in Appendix B. This schedule may be amended from time to time.
  8. The program plan to address revitalization or performance shortfalls must be incorporated into the program department operational plan and budget for the next immediate planning and budgeting cycle. See Appendix B.
  9. A program assigned to revitalization will be reviewed as part of the annual Prioritization, Revitalization and Rationalization process in the following year. From that review, the program may be removed from Revitalization, reassigned to Revitalization, or rationalized (suspended or canceled). A program reassigned to Revitalization for an additional year, must either be removed from Revitalization or rationalized following the subsequent review.
  10. When a program is recommended for rationalization (suspension or cancellation), a suspension/cancellation plan must be developed, approved by the senior academic officer(s) and implemented per the schedule in Appendix B.

Appendix A

The Performance Measures, Targets, Weights and Program Prioritization

  1. The performance of a program relative to each performance measure will be calculated using data for either the previous or current year.
  2. The following calculations will determine the program prioritization.
    1. For each performance measure for each program, a percentage value will be calculated that reflects program achievement of the target for the performance measure.
    2. A weight reflecting relative importance will be assigned to each performance measure and used in the calculation of the program score.
    3. The program score will then be calculated as the weighted mean of the performance measure percentages.
    4. The programs will be rank ordered based on the program scores.
    5. The rank ordering of the programs reflects program prioritization.
  3. The following program performance measures, with associated criteria, will be applied to each program.
    Student Demand
    is defined as the number of full-time new (AAL1 and new entrants into higher semesters in accelerated programs) domestic and visa students enrolled in the program on the twelfth day of classes.
    Expected Minimum Enrolment
    Program TypeExpected Minimum Enrolment
    Certificate Program31 Students
    Diploma Program36 Students
    Advanced Diploma Program50 Students

    Consideration for lower numbers will be given where programs share common years or curriculum, where program clustering exists, and where the program is in the first two years of program intake.
    Graduation Rate

    is measured by comparing the number of students who graduate from a program – within a period of 200% of the normal program length from the date the cohort entered – to the number of students who initially enrolled in the program in term one, using the same cohort of students and adjusting for students who transfer into and out of the program. The provincially mandated and calculated graduation rate will be used.

    The following graduation rates reflect the experience of the CAAT system and will be the target level for Lambton College programs.

    Target graduation rates by length of program
    Program LengthTarget Graduation Rate
    One Year Program75%
    Two Year Program60%
    Three-Year Program50%

    The Graduation Rate for the BScN program will be calculated for the first two years of the program.

    Program Retention Rate

    is defined as the number of AAL3 students on November 1 (or June 1 for accelerated programs) as a percentage of the same students (cohort) enrolled in AAL1 on November 1, the previous year.

    The target Retention Rate for a program is 80%.

    Student Satisfaction Rate

    (KPI) is the program student satisfaction rate as determined in the most recent KPI survey.

    The target rate is the College average.

    Graduate Satisfaction Rate

    (KPI) is the program graduate satisfaction rate as determined in the most recent KPI survey.

    The target rate is the College average.

    Employer Engagement

    is demonstrated by the holding of the required two meetings per academic year and the attendance of community members.

    The target for this measure is two meetings over the previous academic year with three external members in attendance at each meeting.

    The percentage score will be calculated by awarding 10 points for each meeting held and 1 point for each attending external member and then calculating the total points as a percentage of 26.

    OSAP Default Rate

    is the Ministry-published OSAP default rate for each program.

    A program is expected to have an OSAP default rate that is below the Ministry repayment limit for the current year.

    Cost/Revenue Ratio

    is calculated using the College program costing model. The total calculated program costs divided by the total calculated program revenues provides the ratio.

    The percent of revenue consumed by program costs (cost/revenue ratio) should not exceed 70%.

    Satisfaction with Teaching

    is the average satisfaction rate for items 14 to 18, inclusive, on the most recent KPI Student Satisfaction Survey.

    The target rate is the College average.

    Mission Fit

    is demonstrated by program components that demonstrably support and advance the College mission.

    For each of the mission themes, credit will be awarded for the development and planning, and the implementation of components that support and advance the College mission. 0 to 2 points will be assigned to each program. The points will be converted to a percentage value.

    Strategic Initiatives

    are undertakings by the program that support and advance a) the Strategic Initiatives identified in the Strategic Plan and b) the Strategic Mandate Agreement pillars.

    Points will be awarded to a program for being identified as a strategic priority in the strategic plan or strategic mandate agreement and for planning and developing, and implementing initiatives that support and advance the pillars and initiatives. 0 to 2 points will be assigned to each program. The points will be converted to a percentage value.

    Capital Needs

    are described by the capital expenditures for a program(s), over the past five years, drawn from College ministry-supplied funds (e.g. Capital Equipment Reserves Fund (CERF) and funds from the Foundation that were not earmarked by the donor for a particular program(s). i.e. Capital expenditures are not counted if there is no opportunity cost associated with the allocation of the funds.

    A program’s past five-year capital expenditures per student (total current full-time program enrollment) will be calculated and compared to the College average. The comparison will be presented as a percentage value. Shared capital will be pro-rated between programs.

    Pathways to Other Programs

    are demonstrated through transfer agreements, articulation agreements, laddering arrangements and opportunities for the recognition of a graduate’s credential for further academic or professional credentials that enhance the opportunities and mobility of program students and graduates.

    Points, 0 to 2, will be awarded to a program for having in place formal links and arrangements to other programs and with other institutions, agencies, etc. The points will be converted to a percentage value.

    Program Documentation

    for the program and curriculum as described in College policy should be current and complete.

    Points, 0 to 2, will be awarded to a program for having in place complete and current program and curriculum documentation consistent with College policy. The points will be converted to a percentage value.

  4. The following weights will be assigned to each of the performance measures.
    How performance measures are weighted
    Performance MeasuresWeights
    Student Demand10
    Retention Rate5
    Graduation Rate10
    Student Satisfaction8
    Graduate Satisfaction8
    Active PAC4
    Satisfaction with Teaching4
    OSAP Default1
    Cost/Revenue Ratio10
    Capital Needs per Student1
    Mission, Vision Fit2
    Strategic Initiatives4
    Links to Other Programs3
    Curriculum Documents2

Appendix B

Annual Cycle


  1. June 3 - The Program Revitalization and Rationalization Scorecard - with the most current data, analysis and ratings - is provided by the Office of Quality Assurance and Institutional Research for the consideration of the senior academic officer(s) and the Learning Services Committee.
  2. June 10 – Programs are identified for rationalization, revitalization (initial assignment or re-assignment) and the addressing of financial viability or performance shortfalls by the senior academic officer(s).
  3. Discussion may take place with the Employer-Employee Relations Committee and other employee groups, where and if appropriate.
  4. Mid-June - The PPR&R Scorecard is distributed to all program departments.
  5. June - third week - Programs identified for revitalization and viability reviews identify and form review teams and establish review plan for the fall semester.
  6. September to December - The program taskforce(s) undertakes a review and analysis (SWOT) of the program(s) in revitalization, or a program financial viability review, and then develops the analysis and findings for the revitalization plan and the plan and recommendations for addressing the financial viability of the identified programs.
  7. December to January - The revitalization interim report(s) and the financial viability final report(s) with recommendations are presented to the Vice-President, Academic & Student Success. Approved recommendation(s) are incorporated into operational plans. From the operational plans, department and school budgets will be developed for approval.
  8. January 15 - The formal mid-point Revitalization Report is presented to the Vice-President, Academic & Student Success.
  9. January 15 to June - Implementation of any revitalization approved interim recommendations and the financial viability approved recommendations is undertaken. Implementation is completed in time for the September intake.
  10. Week 2, May - the Program Revitalization Final Report is presented to the Vice-President, Academic & Student Success.
  11. Mid-May - June end - Implementation of approved recommendations of Revitalization Report(s) commences.
  12. October - Vice-President, Academic & Student Success reports to Program and Services Committee on program revitalizations and financial viabilities reviews and provides recommendations concerning program suspensions for Committee consideration.


  1. October - A report on the revitalization and financial viability of programs is presented by the Vice-President, Academic & Student Success to the Programs and Services Committee of the Board with recommendations for program rationalization for the consideration of the Committee.
  2. November - Board considers for approval Program and Services Committee recommendations for program rationalization.
  3. January 1 - The implementation of the plan for the suspension or cancellation of a program will be initiated.

Appendix C

Financial Viability (FV) Review

  1. The FV review will be conducted by the identified program department, under the direction of the program coordinator.
  2. The purpose of the FV review is to identify steps to be taken to improve the program cost-revenue ratio and, ultimately, move the program to a position of long-term financial viability, demonstrated by the program cost-revenue ratio achieving or bettering the College target ration.
  3. The immediate product of the FV review will be a report, to be completed within 4 months, that describes the reasons for the high cost-revenue ratio, and identifies solutions with the steps to be taken.
    1. At the conclusion of the Program Prioritization, Revitalization and Rationalization process in mid-June, a program will be identified for the FV Review.
    2. By the end of June the FV team will be identified.
    3. The FV review will commence in September.
    4. The FV report will be submitted by mid-December.
  4. The membership of the FV review team, beyond the program coordinator, shall be determined by the program Dean.
  5. The report shall be submitted to the program Dean and the Vice President Academic.
  6. The program Dean will be responsible for considering and acting upon the recommendations from the FV review.
  7. A program failing to identify a solution(s) for the high cost-revenue ratio or failing to achieve the target ratio within a year will be eligible for Revitalization or suspension following the next Program Prioritization, Revitalization and Rationalization review.

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