Program Review ProcessFlowchart: Program Review Process - Text Provided Below

The program review process is based on a seven-year cycle or, when possible, conducted in conjunction with other timely reviews by discipline-specific accrediting agencies or the Louisiana Board of Regents. Units are responsible for notifying the Office of Institutional Effectiveness of such reviews and providing information to the University Review & Assessment Council (URAC) for determination as to whether the process can be coordinated.

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

  • executive vice president and provost or the provost's representative;
  • associate vice provost for institutional effectiveness;
  • the appropriate dean;
  • the department/unit chair and faculty;
  • departmental staff, as appropriate;
  • undergraduate and graduate students in the program;
  • an external reviewer(s);
  • an internal review panel; and
  • other key constituents, as appropriate.

The results are reported to the executive vice president and provost, deans, directors/chairs, and the unit's faculty. The reports may be made available to the university committees involved in the planning, assessment, and budgeting processes.

Self-study Report. Units must prepare a self-study report that addresses the following components: accomplishments since the last program review; listing of awards; faculty or staff information; student information; assessment and curriculum or program changes; teaching enhancements, if applicable; research productivity, if applicable; engagement and partnerships; challenges/barriers; and a strategic plan. Accompanying appendices include: most recent strategic plan; strategic planning annual reports; annual assessments of learning outcomes reports; and action plan (formerly memorandum of agreement) from the last program review. Department chairs should ensure faculty input in the development of the report.

External Reviewers. Input from external reviewers is a critical aspect of program review, because it provides an evaluative opinion from recognized experts in the field, ensures objectivity, helps provide perspectives concerning the program's relationship to the discipline, and lends credibility to the process. Units just 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 units 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 URAC. The external reviewer provides a report based on the unit's self-study report.

Internal Panels. Program review internal panels are selected for each academic program reviewed. The panel serves as a subcommittee of URAC. Members of the panel are recommended by the Council with the concurrence of the executive vice president and provost or the provost's representative.

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

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

Each panel evaluating academic programs is chaired by an experienced senior faculty member who is not in the same unit as the program under reviewed. An additional two faculty members are asked to serve, and where possible one of the two is from the college of the unit and one of the two is from outside the college of the unit. At least one of the panel members will have graduate faculty status for review of the academic units with graduate programs.

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, and a timeline for completing those actions. Progress toward accomplishing the action plan is documents in the units' Strategic Planning Annual Report and considering in the next program review.

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/departments must provide the on-site visit report and all relevant correspondence to and from the external accreditor with the Office of Institutional Effectiveness.

Upon review of the materials attained from the external review, the college/department 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. Departments will provide action plan updates in the Strategic Planning Annual Report. The status updates should clearly document the steps taken to implement the action plan, including use of the relevant data for seeking improvement.

Program Review Timeline

Date Activity
September 21, 2018 Departments submit to Office of Institutional Effectiveness (OIE) five names of potential external reviewers (in rank order, with "1" being the top choice), approved by the college dean.
November 9, 2018  Departments submit Self-Study Report; OIE to finalize external reviewers.
January 25, 2019 External reviewers' reports due. Provide reports to internal panels, department chairs, and deans.
February 1 - March 15, 2019 Internal panel review to include: interviews with dean, department chair, faculty, and students. Exit interview with dean, chair, and OIE to provide preliminary findings.
April 1, 2019  Panel reports due to OIE. OIE to send panel reports and draft of action plan to departments. 
April 26, 2019  Departments submit responses to action plan to OIE.
April 26 - May 17, 2019 Draft and sign final action plan. 


Related Documents

2018-19 Academic Program Review

Self-Study Template

External Reviewer Report Template


Stephenie Franks
Assistant Director for Institutional Effectiveness

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