The following processes and recommendations are guidelines for the divisions to create their own program review processes. The University Council on Learning Assessment evaluated the elements of program reviews and categorized them as either Recommended or Required when conducting a review. Consult Appendix A for an abbreviated list of recommendations.
The following guidelines apply to academic programs that lead to a degree.
The purpose of an academic program review is to evaluate the effectiveness, quality, rigor, relevancy, and viability of a program for the purpose of improvement and accountability. Assessment of student learning outcomes should be a major part of data collected and analyzed as part of periodic improvement and as part of the program reviews.
The Program Review process includes 3 phases: the Self-Study, evaluation by an External Review Team, and planning of Next Steps.
An effective self-study process:
The self-study follows established academic standards:
State the program mission and align it with divisional and institutional mission and strategic direction. Describe how the program is fulfilling its mission and outline the focus on instruction and research. Discuss how program goals and objectives are linked to the university and divisional strategic priorities, and outline plans for continual development of the program.
Describe the curriculum and emphasize the following about the program:
In the report include program learning outcomes, course learning outcomes, curriculum mapping and learning outcomes mapping to assessment (Test Blueprint).
Describe how resources are supporting the program and outline plans for sustainability for the future. The allocation of resources and processes are informed by evidence. The self-study should include information on how the program continues to maximize the use of its human and material resources, and finally outline a program improvement plan for a sustained process.
Programs may pursue internal or external evaluations or a combination of both. The process is the same for both forms of evaluation.
Internal evaluation teams are usually composed of individuals from the program, the division, or the institution. They usually focus on a formative assessment process to monitor continuous quality improvement. Drawbacks of internal evaluation can be that there is subjectivity or bias in the program evaluation.
External evaluations are conducted by experts in the field from outside of the institution. A benefit of using external evaluators is that the process is broader and may include views that internal reviewers may not possess. Additionally, external reviews carry more credibility if reviewers are well positioned in their field. It also reinforces accountability for those being evaluated.
The department and program administrators will identify 1 to 3 external reviewers (Consult Appendix B for guidelines identifying and choosing external reviewers).
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