Purpose of Program Review
The academic program review (APR) process provides a cyclical, comprehensive assessment of an academic unit’s strengths, challenges, and opportunities for improvement. The primary focus of the academic program review considers factors associated with achieving and maintaining high quality degree programs, including stand-alone certificates. In addition, the review takes into account related departmental/academic unit factors (e.g., climate, communications, facilities, technology, staffing, advising).
The APR is an improvement-oriented process that provides the unit, the college, and the university with an evidence-based foundation to support decision-making and to enhance academic excellence. The APR is also an essential component in demonstrating the university’s compliance with SACSCOC (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges) accreditation standards including the following:
- Core Requirement 7.1. The institution engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that (a) focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and (b) incorporate a systemic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with its mission. (Institutional Planning)
- 8.2.a The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of seeking improvement based on analysis of the results...[for its] student learning outcomes for each of its educational programs.
The value of the APR rests on its process, its outcomes, and its usefulness. Because the process and outcomes are developed for purposes of improving educational opportunities, curriculum quality, and program relevance, it is essential that the university make appropriate use of the results.
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. 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);
- 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.