University of Wisconsin - Stout

Purpose of the Review

This review was conducted in response to findings reported in the 2000-2001, the first of the seven-year regular cycle reviews for this program.  The committee recommended that the program file status reports in 2002 and 2003 addressing concerns about identity, growth, resources, and assessment in the major noted in the review.  The 2002 status review requiring a plan for addressing growth and assessment issues was accepted as presented April 12, 2002.

Telecommunications Systems
Program Director
John Weiss
PRC Consultants
Janet Polansky and Paul Wagner
Date of Review
April 12, 2002


The review comprises concerns about staffing, program size, and assessment in the major.  A nation-wide search for three tenure track instructors which yielded a list of candidates to be interviewed has been discontinued owing to budget contingencies.  Means of improving staffing efficiency are being explored, and the lack of continuity in staffing, including three program directors in fewer than three years, appears to be more stable.  Enrollment target figures have been reduced to 2001-2002 academic year levels owing to staffing limitations, which may also affect the program’s ability to deliver courses required for students graduation. Lab equipment and activities are sufficient to meet the needs of current students. 

Assessment in the major is ongoing, including two extensive annual Cisco reviews to verify compliance with Quality Assurance Plans.  Students must also pass several professional certification exams in order to graduate. Graduate surveys will also help gauge effectiveness.  The final plan will be formulated by June.  If the present budget crisis exigencies can be favorably resolved, there is optimism concerning program needs.  Telecommunication Systems is a popular program currently serving 245 students and meeting Wisconsin's needs for well-trained communication technology specialists.

Previous Review

As a result of the 2000-2001 review, the committee recommended that in 2002 the program director and CTEM dean provide a status report that addresses the following:

  1. concerns about program size and staffing;
  2. include a detailed plan for managing enrollment growth in a way that enhances quality without sacrificing access;
  3. program should demonstrate that it has a plan and has begun collecting data for assessment in the major, and
  4. university needs a campus-wide examination of program growth and enrollment issues.

Program Review

The present program director reported progress addressing concerns about program size and staffing, although temporarily disrupted, is generally positive, with staffing searches being conducted and enrollment growth monitored.  Contingency plans for maintaining flexibility in the face of changing funding and enrollment are formulated.  The formal plan for assessment in the major is under development, and data is being continuously collected to satisfy multiple assessment needs.

Issues of Concern

As yet, the university has no overall plan for addressing funding and enrollment contingencies.

Consultants’ Observations

The program has met and exceeded expectations for this review.