Guidelines for Third Cycle of Academic Program Review

Reference Number: F84-123
Senate Approval Date: Saturday, September 01, 1984




The basic purposes of academic program review are:

  1. To provide information, analysis, and evaluation in a cost-efficient manner;
  2. To aid in planning and decision-making about program quality and direction;


  3. To aid in decision-making about program enhancement, maintenance, reduction

    or consolidation, or discontinuance.

In order to accomplish the above, academic program review includes the following

three components:

Instructional Unit Self-Study

School Assessment and Recommendation

University Review and Decision

Instructional Unit Self-Study

In order that University planning may occur in a rational and comprehensive

fashion, every instructional unit which has its own faculty and/or offers an

academic degree should prepare a "forward-looking" self-study which utilizes

considerations of program quality as a basis for making recommendations regarding

future directions. Such a planning cycle assumes that higher quality decisions

occur when each instructional unit is involved in making recommendations regarding

its future. In order to make these recommendations, each instructional unit


  1. Describe the programs and services it provides to the university and indicate

    changes since the last review.

  2. State its objectives and relate them to school and university missions.
  3. Assess its outcomes in terms of progress towards meeting objectives.
  4. Describe its strengths and weaknesses in terms of academic quality.
  5. Respond to recommendations made at the various review levels during the

    previous cycle.

  6. Describe its current use of faculty and facilities.
  7. Define what changes would be necessary to maintain viability or to build

    the unit to or maintain it at a level of quality commensurate with the changing

    needs of our society.

In other words, an instructional unit self-study must assess the unit's quality

over the past review period, project the unit's intentions over the next review

period, discuss the merits of any anticipated new curricular directions, posit

future enrollment targets, and make recommendations for change.

Where and when possible, instructional unit self-studies should be tied to

and utilize any self-studies being undertaken for the purposes of program (e.g.,

NLN) or school (e.g., NCATE) accreditation. For those units not subject to accreditation

and visitation by external review teams, the possibility of locally initiated

external reviews should be considered.

Instructional unit self-studies will follow a design structured so as to be

"economical" in nature. Units will not be expected to repeat any of the "base-line"

information provided in their "second cycle" reviews conducted between 1977

and 1983. However, they will be expected to assess all of the academic programs

offered under their aegis. Program review should thus relate the instructional

unit to its school's mission and objectives and to those of the university,

and which provide information, analysis, and assessment for decisions regarding

the unit's future. All instructional units will be supplied with basic programmatic

data, including faculty utilization, tenure ratios within reporting unit, assigned

time utilization, projection of retirement eligibility by age, FTEF positions

generated by mode and level, student-faculty ratios, student enrollment by mode

and level, enrollment by degree objective and major, and degrees granted.

School Assessment and Recommendation

Academic program review is premised on the notion of all instructional units

in a given school engaging in self-study in the same academic year. It is also

premised on the notion of attempting, where possible, to tie program review

to accreditation self-studies and visitations. Thus, in those instances in which

an entire school is subject to accreditation (i.e., the School of Education

and the School of Business), instructional unit self-studies will occur in the

same year as school accreditation.

Program review assumes that, in each school, each instructional unit self-study

will be reviewed at the school level in conjunction with all of the other reviews

of all of the other units of the school. This second level of review will:

  1. Assess the quality of the programs in each of the instructional units.
  2. Indicate the importance of each academic program and each instructional

    unit to the overall effort of the school.

  3. Include a statement relating the academic programs and instructional units

    of the school to the university's mission and objectives.

The school, after assessing each unit's self-study in relation to all of the

other self-studies of the school, would prepare a set of recommendations regarding

future directions for the school as a whole and for all of its component programs.

Such comprehensive, school-based review will permit synoptic, school-based planning,

which will lead to coherent, school-based recommendations as a basis for university-wide

planning. Such an approach will assure the school's central position in the

university planning and decision-making process.

University Review and Decision

Once a school has submitted its aggregate reviews, assessments, and recommendations

to the Provost, these documents will be analyzed by the Provost's staff and

referred to the University Planning Group and to appropriate Senate and other

university-level decision-making bodies for the approval of new curricular and

programmatic directions. Program review will provide the necessary data, analyses,

and assessments essential to the proper functioning of these bodies.


Attached to this document is the timetable for the third cycle of academic

program review (Attachment A). A number of comments are in order:

  1. The timetable delineates a six-year rather than a five-year program review

    cycle, with all of the units in a given school being reviewed in the same

    year and one-to-two schools under review in any given year during the first

    five years. The six-year program review cycle permits each school to undergo

    a two-year review, with the instructional unit self-studies occurring in the

    first year and the school assessments and recommendations and the university-level

    review and decision occurring in the second year.

  2. An assumption is made that, insofar as possible, program reviews will be

    tied to school accreditation processes and that, if necessary and feasible,

    attempts will be made to persuade accreditation agencies to change their review

    and visitation schedules to coincide with the program review calendar delineated

    in Attachment A.

  3. Although Liberal Studies and General Education are not included in the timetable,

    these programs will also undergo review during the third cycle.

  4. Guidelines for the review of individual instructional units are appended

    as Attachment B. Additional guidelines regarding Academic Senate participation

    in the program review process will be added when developed.


  1. Name of instructional unit
  2. List each degree, concentration, minor, certificate, and instructional service

    (including general education, liberal studies, or service to other programs)

    offered by the unit.

  3. Describe for each program listed above:
  1. Its purpose and how well it is being met
  2. Any special features regarding its curriculum, faculty, students, or use

    of resources which highlight the program's quality and, if relevant, uniqueness

  3. Emerging trends in the field and resulting changes in plans for the program
  4. Any other plans of action based on internal or external evaluation of the

    program's functioning (including responses to recommendations made as part

    of the last program review and/or previous accreditation visits)

  5. Any impediments to implementing plans
  1. Note any corrections or changes in the quantitative data provided to the

    unit for this review.

  2. Summarize briefly the overall implications of your responses to question

    3 for the instructional unit as a whole, identifying those plans for the unit

    which will be of highest priority over the next five years. Include a projection

    of anticipated enrollments for the next five years.