The purpose of program review is to evaluate academic programs in terms of current status and future potential. Academic program review is required by the Higher Learning Commission and is evidence of the university's commitment to continuous quality improvement that also includes institutional accreditation, specialized accreditation, and student learning outcomes. Program review should be tied to the goals and objectives of the University's strategic plan(s) (some program reviews will bridge two strategic plans) and evaluate the effectiveness of the improvement plan from the prior review.
The data required for program review is compiled from that included in annual department/college reports and annual assessment reports; as such, the primary purpose of program review is for programs, departments and deans to analyze these data, identify strengths and weaknesses and develop and implement plans for improvement. Ultimately, program review is a management tool that informs decisions by the dean and provost regarding resource allocation.
Programs to be reviewed
Every distinct program (majors, concentrations, graduate degrees, stand-alone minors, and stand-alone certificates) must be reviewed. The Honors and the General Education programs must also be reviewed. Programs on hiatus are not reviewed.
Programs scheduled for review
The 2020-2027 Program Review Schedule outlines when departments and programs will undergo their review during the 2020-2027 program review cycle.
Program review components
The process and necessary documentation will vary depending on whether and how a program is accredited by an external agency.
Internal Program Review: (A) Self-study; (B) External review; (C) Summary of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats; (D) Explicit plan for improvement.
Externally Accredited Programs: Documentation of successful accreditation together with sections C and D if these are not part of the accreditation summary.
Full details on the information to be contained within each section of the program review document are available in the Program Review Process Guidelines.
Typical timeline for internal program review
Departments (or interdisciplinary councils, etc.) begin the process in the spring semester prior to the year of program review by reviewing the guidelines, determining the information needed to be gathered, and communicating the Program Review timeline and expectations for participation with department members. During the fall semester of the scheduled program review year, faculty compile the necessary data and information, begin drafting the self-study report, and identify potential external reviewers. During the spring semester the self-study is finalized and sent to external reviewers, the reviewers visit campus and submit their reports, and follow-up meetings with the dean and provost’s office are held. In the seven-year cycle, program review is conducted in year 1, changes are implemented in year 2, and data are collected in years 3-7.
Typical timeline for externally accredited programs
During the fall semester of the scheduled program review year, ordinarily the year after the external accreditation body review, faculty compile the necessary data and information to respond to any accreditation agency request for program enhancement and prepare the summary of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats and program enhancement plan. During the follow-up meetings with the dean and provost's office are held – and if required materials sent to the eternal accrediting agency. The above timeline may change based on accrediting agency requirements and timeframe for reporting program data, or enhancements.
Note: Any materials to be sent to external agencies must be reviewed by the Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs before it is sent. Please provide two full weeks to review any document before a deadline for submission.