Program prioritization has the potential to severely harm universities where it is implemented. The major concerns are:
(1) It undermines the authority of academic senates, and gives academic decision-making power to central administrators.
(2) It is based on a flawed and complicated methodology:
(a) The working groups are asked to rank programs according to hundreds of data points, which creates the possibility of serious errors and promotes subjective judgments.
(b) Rankers are asked to evaluate programs they may know nothing about.
(c) The comparisons are absurd. The logic of program prioritization leads to comparisons between bookstores and Physics programs, English departments with postage & mail services. This is apples & oranges at its very worst.
(3) Program prioritization often leads to cutbacks and program eliminations, which in turn may lead to layoffs and loss of permanent faculty positions.
(4) In extreme cases, program prioritization can be used to completely change the mission & purpose of an institution.
SOURCE: OCUFA 2013. Frequently Asked Questions: Ontario’s Differentiation Agenda and Program Prioritization. (http://ocufa.on.ca/)