Administer World Campus

Proposing a Program Idea

World Campus evaluates all program ideas through a proven multi-step program proposal process that helps to ensure good decisions are made for all parties.

Origination of Ideas

Program ideas for World Campus typically originate from one or more of three sources. These include:

  • Academic Units: Faculty members, department heads, and deans may propose a program idea to World Campus.
  • World Campus: Some ideas are generated through day-to-day discussions among World Campus staff around the curriculum of undergraduate and graduate degree and certificate programs offered by World Campus. These discussions can reveal opportunities as well as points of synergy.
  • Market Scans: Outreach Marketing Research completes market scans for World Campus on a regular basis. Changing employment trends and hiring patterns can suggest emerging markets and the need for new programs.

World Campus Online Program Intake Process

Penn State World Campus Program Planning and Management (PP&M) reviews program ideas via a multi-step Program Intake Process that has brought structure, rigor, risk analysis, and financial responsibility to the program selection process. This process has been effective in selecting programs that are productive in terms of enrollment and financial criteria for both the academic partner and World Campus.

Step 1: Contact Program Planning and Management for an Initial Consultation

Individuals having an interest in proposing an idea should contact the appropriate director/associate director:

Engineering, Information Sciences and Technology
Sonya Leitzell, Senior Director of Academic Affairs

Earth and Mineral Sciences, Business, Law
Traci Piazza, Senior Director of Academic Affairs 

Liberal Arts, Medicine, Public Affairs
Amanda Mulfinger, Senior Program Manager

Communications, Education, Nursing
Stephanie Russell, Senior Program Manager

Agricultural Sciences, Arts and Architecture, Health and Human Development, Science
Joe Buffone, Senior Program Manager 

Step 2: Initial Assessment

The Program Planning and Management (PP&M) unit within World Campus is responsible for leading the review of new programs. They have the authority to make an initial assessment based upon past experience and the below program selection criteria, which were among the first guiding elements developed following the creation of World Campus. The criteria are applied regardless of whether the program idea originates from an academic unit or within World Campus, and they weigh heavily throughout the review process.

World Campus Program Selection Criteria:

  • Academic reputation
  • Academic readiness
  • Appropriate technology
  • Sustainable market
  • Income potential
  • Scalability

Step 3: Academic Unit Consultation

Early consultation with academic units and faculty who deliver similar programs in residence or have related scholarly interest is a requirement. The Graduate School, for example, has mandated that competing online degree programs will not be approved, and collaborative approaches across colleges and campuses are encouraged. Collaboration adds academic diversity to a program and is a great advantage in addressing faculty capacity as program enrollment grows.

After initial review by World Campus and the identification of academic partners, the suggested program idea progresses through a series of steps.

Step 4: Program Intake Form

For program ideas that clear initial review by Program Planning and Management, the program champion (typically a faculty member, professor in charge, or department/division head) is identified and asked to work with colleagues to complete a short Program Intake Form.

Step 5: Market Research

To determine the viability of a proposed program, Outreach and Online Education Market Research typically conducts a market analysis. The Intake Form completed by the academic unit is a key piece of information used in planning the market analysis.

Four key factors are typically assessed:

  1. Economic trends
  2. Demographic trends
  3. Program demand
  4. Competition

Step 6: Decision and Next Steps

Upon completion of the intake process and market research, World Campus will meet with the academic unit(s) to come to a joint decision on one of three paths forward:

  1. Yes — Move forward
  2. Need for Further Exploration — Pause to review; conduct more market research or consider new information before making a decision
  3. No — The joint decision may be not to move forward