Program Review ProcessFlowchart: Program Review Process - Text Provided Below

The program review process is based on a seven-year cycle or, whenever possible, conducted in conjunction with other timely reviews by discipline-specific accrediting agencies or the Louisiana Board of Regents. Each academic unit is responsible for notifying the Office of Institutional Effectiveness of such external reviews.

Among the individuals and groups involved in the process are the following:

  • Executive Vice President and Provost or the provost’s representative;
  • Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE);
  • dean;
  • unit’s chair/director and faculty;
  • unit’s staff, as appropriate;
  • undergraduate and/or graduate students in the program(s);
  • external reviewer(s);
  • internal review panel; and
  • other key constituents, as appropriate.

The results are reported to the executive vice president and provost, the dean, the director/chair, and the unit’s faculty. In addition, the results may be made available to university committees involved in planning, assessment, and budgeting processes.

Self-Study Report

The academic unit must prepare a self-study report that addresses the following components for each academic degree program and stand-alone certificate: previous program review actions; self-study development process; overview of the academic unit and program(s); strategic planning; curriculum and assessment; faculty and student information; research productivity; outreach and partnerships; supporting resources; and current overall analysis. Accompanying appendices include the following: action plan (formerly memorandum of agreement) from the previous program review; organizational chart; current unit strategic plan; three most recent Strategic Planning Annual Reports (SPAR); current assessment plan for each program, Program Impact Reports (PIRs), and curriculum map, if applicable; General Education/Integrated Learning Core assessment reports for the last three years, if applicable; and other documentation, as needed.

External Reviewers

Input from an external reviewer is a critical aspect of program review, because it provides an evaluative opinion from a recognized expert in the field, ensures objectivity, helps provide perspectives concerning the program's relationship to the discipline, and lends credibility to the process. 

The academic unit must provide the names of at least five proposed external reviewers in rank order (with “1” as the unit’s top choice), approved by the dean, from peer or similar institutions. The unit should also provide contact information and a brief rationale stating the significance of each reviewer’s potential contribution to the review process. The list of external reviewers is reviewed and approved by the Institutional Effectiveness Council (IEC). The OIE is responsible for contacting the (top-ranked) external reviewer, procuring his/her consultant services, and facilitating a $1,000 stipend for the off-site review of the unit’s self-study materials.

Internal Panels

Program review internal panels are selected for each academic unit reviewed. Recommendations for panel members are provided by the deans with the concurrence of the executive vice president and provost or the provost's representative. Internal panels are typically composed of three tenured faculty members who are not in the same unit undergoing APR: (1) a panel chair, who is a senior, experienced faculty member and who serves on the IEC, or has previously served on the IEC and/or an internal panel; (2) a faculty member from the same college as the unit; and (3) a faculty member outside of the college of the unit.  At least one of the panel members must have graduate faculty status for review of academic units with graduate programs. Additional panel members may be added, as needed.

The panels are responsible for carrying out the program review and for making recommendations to the executive vice president and provost in a formal report. This review consists of the following:

  • examination of the unit’s self-study report, including any accompanying materials, and the external reviewer’s report;
  • tour of facilities, when appropriate;
  • meetings with the unit’s administration, faculty, staff, and students;
  • exit meeting with the unit’s chair/director, the dean, the associate vice provost for institutional effectiveness, and the executive vice president and provost or the provost's representative; and
  • final, 10-page report outlining the panel’s findings and recommendations. 

Action Plans

The program review process concludes with an action plan, comprised of recommendations based on the internal panel and external reviewer’s reports, proposed actions by the responding unit with input from the faculty, and a timeline for completing those actions. Progress toward accomplishing the action plan is documented in the unit’s Strategic Planning Annual Report (SPAR) and considered in the unit’s next program review. The status updates should clearly document the steps taken to implement the action plan, including use of relevant data for seeking improvement.   

External Specialized Accreditation

A review by an external accrediting agency may be substituted for the internal review process if the external review includes an on-site visit and sufficiently addresses the primary required elements of the university’s self-study report.  Colleges/academic units must provide the on-site visit report and all relevant correspondence to and from the external accreditor with the OIE.

Upon review of the materials attained from the external review, the college/academic unit will be notified if supplemental documentation is needed to fulfill the university’s requirements.  An action plan will be developed based on the findings of the external accrediting agency and any supplemental information, as needed. Units will provide action plan updates in the Strategic Planning Annual Report (SPAR). The status updates should clearly document the steps taken to implement the action plan, including use of relevant data for seeking improvement.

Program Review Timeline

Date Activity
September 18, 2020 Units submit to OIE five names of potential external reviewers (in rank order, with "1" being the top choice), approved by the college dean.
November 9, 2020 Units submit Self-Study Report; OIE to finalize external reviewers.
January 25, 2021 External reviewers' reports due. Distribute reports to internal panels, unit chairs/directors, and deans.
February 1 - March 31, 2021 Internal panel review to include: interviews with dean, chair, faculty, and students and/or staff. Exit interview with dean, chair, OIE, and OAA to provide preliminary findings.
April 2021 Panel reports due to OIE. OIE to send panel reports and draft of action plan to units. 
September 10, 2021 Units submit responses to Action Plan to OIE for final review and signatures via OAA. 

Related Documents

2020-21 Academic Program Review

Self-Study Template

External Reviewer Report Template


Stephenie Franks
Assistant Director for Institutional Effectiveness

Email Stephenie