Close Page

New Horizons initiative to evaluate department and program funding

By Alex Schmitt
Nov 16, 2016

The program, called New Horizons, has been put in place by MNU administration to reevaluate the distribution of university resources. Leading faculty members of each department or program submitted a 30-70 page report to the board of trustees on November 7. University President Dr. David Spittal said that based on forms and recommendations from committees, the board will decide if each department or program will receive an increase, decrease or no change in funding.

Dr. Andrew Overholt, associate professor of physics, said these reports include a narrative about the department or program along with the department or program’s effect on the university, a detailed breakdown of its cost, the number of students involved  and the amount of money it generates.

These reports will be reviewed by a committee called the New Horizons task force, led by Bruce Flanders, director of Mabee Learning Commons. Flanders said that each member of the 15-person committee will read up to 25 reports, with each report read by three or four different members. The committee will then make a statement as to what they believe is best for the program’s funding.

View from Lunn looking forward over the campus. Administration plans to reevaluate funding for programs and departments on campus. Photo by Renee DeVault.View from Lunn looking forward over the campus. Administration plans to reevaluate funding for programs and departments on campus. Photo by Renee DeVault.

“Recommendation may even be too strong of a word,” Flanders said. “We’ll kind of be making observations in terms of what we’re seeing that may help the president’s cabinet develop some recommendations to the board.”

After the task force, the president’s cabinet will go over the committee’s findings and make recommendations to the board of trustees, which will make the final decision. Spittal said that the purpose of this program is to make the best decision for the greatest number of students and to keep moving forward.

“As thrilling as the first 50 years have been, we can’t go back and redo that,” Spittal said. “That’s history. And we can’t stand where we are, because [this] generation is telling us that there are things happening. We need to be rolling, we need to be on target. Even in areas like ministry, science or whatever area students have interest in, we can’t stand still, because it’s changing faster than we can accommodate it. So really, New Horizons is ‘What’s a hit, what’s next?’”

Dr. Donna Bohn, the chair of the department of fine and performing arts and associate professor of music, spoke of other universities that have had success with this process in the past, but mentioned a significant difference at MNU.

“[Other universities had] a longer process. Here they just shortened the process significantly,” Bohn said. “We started the process here this fall, and we need to finish it this fall… To get accurate information to the board, we have to have this quickly done, because they have to approve the budget for the next fiscal year, and in order to have accurate information, they want this information early enough to make good decisions for next fiscal year’s budget.”

Lon Dagley, computer services librarian, said that faculty at MNU had a two-month time frame to complete the reports on their departments and programs. Comparatively, he said, Northwest Nazarene University faculty were given from April to December 2016 to complete similar templates.

In addition to feeling pressed for time, Bohn said that the data needed for the reports was incomplete. This data was supplied by the administration, but she had to turn to other sources to complete her report.

“For music, we have to submit a data report for our accrediting body every year,” Bohn said. “I’m using that information instead of the information the university gave.”

Overholt said the information difficulties were primarily the result of miscommunications between the faculty and administration.

“I think [the people who received the templates] misunderstood what data was being reported,” Overholt said. “I thought it would be better if we looked at the revenue generated by the classes taught by the particular programs.”

With all forms submitted, students and faculty are now left waiting for the results of funding decisions. Spittal said the board hopes to have a general direction decided by January and a plan in place by spring.


Alex Schmitt

- More by this author

Alex Schmitt is a History at MidAmerica Nazarene University, and he is also the news editor for The Trailblazer.

comments powered by Disqus
IMG 3696

Cross country runs to a top 20 finish at nationals

For most college students, having to run a mile would be seen as a punishment and a burden. However, to the MNU cross country team, running only a mile is a nice day off.


Many parts, one body

No. 19 MNU women's basketball team united in diversity

23592223 10212720222053616 306630559851822706 o

Sweet surprise: MNU men’s soccer ends year with national tournament berth

Jonathan Koch threw his jersey into his bag and stormed over to Cook Center. The text he had received from his coach was clear.


Sunderland Foundation gives a second sizable donation toward MNU’s new Student Center

The Sunderland Foundation donated $300 thousand to MNU to go toward the building of a new Student Center in late October. The donation was the second gift from the Sunderland Foundation in two years.


Creative Spaces

Replenishing the mind and body through art

Devin Kelley

When answers are not enough

Responding to tragedies such as the Texas church shooting

Quick updates Nov. 2017

Men’s Soccer After an overtime win on penalty kicks on Nov. 3 at No.


Men's basketball team hits the ground running

This isn't true for the members of the MNU men’s basketball team.  Since August, the team has put in many hours on the court, in the weight room, in the film room and even on the track in preparation for the upcoming season.

Extreme makeover: website edition

MNU’s main online presence will undergo a facelift in 2018. After five years with the same website, the university’s Marketing and Communications Department wants a web platform that better accommodates potential and current students.

Videos / See More