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Engaging Voices to Make Hard Choices: Involving Stakeholders in Resource Allocation and Program Prioritization


Barbara Chesler EdD: Vice President for Academic Affairs, Caldwell University

Barbara Chesler is Vice President of Academic Affairs at Caldwell University and has worked within higher education for thirty-one years. As VPAA, Barbara uses data for decision making and is currently cultivating an environment for data-driven decision making in the division of Academic Affairs. Barbara has experience with working with faculty and administrators on best practices in academic assessment and accreditation.


Thomson Ling PhD: Associate Dean, Caldwell University

Thomson Ling is a Professor and the Associate Dean of the School of Psychology and Counseling at Caldwell University. Through his work, he strives to create opportunities for individuals to succeed in their careers. His research interests include transitions in academic settings, multicultural and diversity issues, counselor ethical decision-making, and late adolescent development. As a Professor, he teaches courses on career counseling, crisis counseling, law and ethics in counseling, and research.


Ellina Chernobilsky PhD: Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Caldwell University

Ellina Chernobilsky is the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Caldwell University. Her areas of responsibility are graduate and online studies and faculty development. Among her many academic interests, Ellina is particularly interested in the issues of data mining in higher education and how using the data-mining methods can help the higher education institutions address the issues they face. Her other area of interest is action research in higher education classrooms. Specifically, she studies how working on action research projects with graduate students helps faculty become more informed educators on the undergraduate level.


In the current landscape Institutions of Higher Education are often faced with budget crises. As a result, institutions often need to make hard decisions about resource allocation. These decisions may include program prioritization, cutting athletic programs, and space restructuring. Approximately 70 percent of chief academic officers indicate they will have to reallocate funds for academic programs (Jaschik & Lederman, 2018). However, when determining how to allocate funds, institutions are often faced with a variety of different perspectives from many stakeholders. The art of prudent and sustainable resource allocation comes from not just examining data but also respecting the voices of all stakeholders. In academic matters, stakeholders must include faculty, administration, and others from the academic community (AAUP, 1990). Each of these voices provides a unique and valuable insight into the needs of the institution. This workshop will provide guidance on how institutions can strike the balance between data and human wisdom. Participants will use various levels of data as a foundation to elicit diverse voices. Specifically, they will learn to engage stakeholders, ask questions, and make decisions.

Learning Outcomes:

At the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  1. Examine provided data in preparation for making informed decisions about resource allocation and program prioritization.;
  2. Conceptualize the interaction and alignment between course-level, program-level, and institution-level assessments data;
  3. Develop communication strategies in order to effectively collect data from multiple stakeholders and gain community support for decisions