Academic Program Review: Procedures

In the spring semester, the provost determines the units selected for review the following academic year and notifies the appropriate dean.

Self-study

Program review begins with the unit undertaking a comprehensive self-study that serves as the basis for self-assessment and for identifying future directions and opportunities.  The self-study process is intended to assist the unit faculty in establishing developmental priorities and identifying strategies for achieving academic excellence. The deadline for the self-study is two months before the scheduled arrival of the External Review Committee. Appendix A includes suggested topics for the self-study.

Academic Strategy Committee

The provost will appoint an Academic Strategy Committee that will be advisory to the provost. This committee shall include at least one member of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate. The committee’s participation will begin with reviewing the self-study and working with the provost to identify especially salient issues for the External Review Committee to consider.

External Review Committee

The dean will solicit three to five recommendations from the unit head for the External Review Committee. The committee will normally consist of three members and may consist of members suggested by the dean or provost’s office. The final membership will be approved both by the dean and the vice provost for academic affairs.  A sample charge letter to the committee is provided in Appendix B. In general, the External Review Committee is directed to examine the unit's self-study and respond to any specific issues identified by the provost and the Academic Strategy Committee, as noted above. 

At the outset of the visit, the External Review Committee will meet with the vice provost for academic affairs and dean.  During the course of the visit, the External Review Committee meets with the unit’s students, faculty, and staff.

Prior to departure, the External Review Committee normally meets with the dean, the vice provost for academic affairs, and at least one member of the Academic Strategy Committee and presents the committee’s general findings. This forms the basis of the draft report summarizing the strengths and weaknesses of the unit and its action plan.

Draft Report Distribution and Unit Response

The unit head reviews the draft report of the External Review Committee for factual accuracy and responds to any inaccuracies within two weeks of receipt.

Final Report Distribution and Unit Response

A final report is due within two weeks of receiving any factual corrections from the unit head. The unit then develops a response within two months following receipt of the final report. Both the final report and the unit response are then distributed to the dean.

Subsequently, but no later than one month following receipt of the unit response, the dean prepares a position paper for the vice provost for academic affairs and the Academic Strategy Committee proposing any actions to be taken and a proposed timeline. The Academic Strategy Committee, in its advisory role to the provost, will comment on the dean’s plan. The provost will then charge the dean with the provost’s expectations for improvement. The dean will also update the Academic Strategy Committee about the unit’s progress at roughly three and five years from the conclusion of the review.