Guidelines for the Fourth Cycle of Academic Program Review

Reference Number: S89-161
Senate Approval Date: Sunday, January 01, 1989


Academic Senate Policy S89-161

At its meeting of May 9, 1989, the Academic Senate approved the following policy

for guidelines for the fourth cycle of Academic Program Review:

The purpose of academic program review at San Francisco State University is

to assess the University's academic degree programs in order to assure that

they are of the highest possible quality. The review should provide information,

analysis, and evaluation that will help all elements of the University plan

and make decisions about the maintenance, enhancement, reduction, consolidation,

or discontinuance of baccalaureate, master's, and joint-doctoral degree programs.

Academic program review in the fourth cycle will include the following four


Instructional Unit Self-Study and Recommendation

External Review and Recommendation

School Evaluation and Recommendation

University Review and Decision-Making

At the start of the process for a given School, representatives from the instructional

units, the School, the Office of Academic Affairs, and the Academic Program

Review Committee (APRC) will meet to discuss substantive and procedural questions.

Those attending should indicate any specific areas or issues needing to be addressed,

so that these may be given special attention in the review process.

Instructional Unit Self-Study and Recommendation

Every instructional unit which offers academic programs leading to baccalaureate,

master's, or joint doctoral degrees shall prepare a self-study that will serve

as a basis for all subsequent reviews and recommendations. In this self-study,

the unit should describe and assess each degree program it offers, following

the guidelines that appear as Attachment A.

The unit should forward its completed self-study to the external reviewers

and to the School Office for their respective review and recommendations. Self-studies

prepared for the purpose of program or School accreditation may, if appropriate

and timely, satisfy this requirement.

External Review and Recommendation

The purpose of external review is to help each instructional unit improve the

quality of its degree programs and to add an additional perspective to the recommendations

made in the self-study. It is anticipated that the external reviewers will provide

evaluative assistance and support for program goals.

Units whose degree programs are accredited or seeking accreditation (see Attachment

B) may substitute the visit of an accrediting team for this external review

requirement. Units not subject to accreditation will have a campus-initiated

external review. Typically, the review will be conducted by a team of at least

two members, representing both a CSU and a national perspective.

Reviewers will be chosen by the unit and the School Dean in concert, with names

forwarded by the Dean to the Academic Vice President for his/her concurrence.

Reviewers will receive a copy of the unit's self-study and supporting documents

and are expected to spend two days on the campus interviewing students, faculty,

and administrators and to prepare a report of findings and recommendations.

Copies of this report shall be sent to the unit and to the School. It will become

part of the unit's program review file evaluated by the School, the Academic

Program Review Committee, and the Office of Academic Affairs. Upon receipt of

the report, the University will pay the reviewers an honorarium (in addition

to travel costs and other expenses).

School Evaluation and Recommendation

The School Dean is responsible for coordinating and monitoring both the internal

and the external review process for all units in his/her School. In addition,

after reviewing each unit's self-study, external review report, and other data

that the unit may provide, the School will comment on all recommendations made

and add recommendations as needed. These comments and recommendations shall

be sent directly to the unit and added to the program review file that will

then be forwarded to the Office of Academic Affairs for transmission to the

Academic Program Review Committee.

University Review and Decision-Making

In order to provide a University-wide faculty perspective and assist in University-wide

planning, the Academic Program Review Committee will carefully review each unit's

self-study, external review report, and School evaluation. APRC will meet with

the School Dean and other School representatives to ensure that it fully understands

all recommendations made. APRC will accept additional data and recommendations

from the units at this time. It will then proceed to evaluate all recommendations

and send its report to the Chair of the Academic Senate and the Vice President

for Academic Affairs for transmission to all interested parties. APRC will also

send any policy recommendations and its annual report to the Academic Senate.

After the faculty of the instructional unit, the School administration, and

the Academic Vice President's Office have had an opportunity to study all reports

and recommendations, representatives of these three areas will meet to discuss

recommendations and agree on actions to be taken. This agreement will be embodied

in a memorandum of understanding which will be in effect until the completion

of the next review cycle. Relevant portions of this memorandum of understanding

will be transmitted to the Chair of the Academic Senate and to University administrators.


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

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


The timetable delineates a six-year program review cycle, with all of

the units in a given School reviewed simultaneously.


Insofar as possible, program reviews will be connected to School and

program accreditation processes.


Although Liberal Studies and General Education are not included in the

timetable, these programs will also undergo review during the fourth cycle.


In the semester prior to commencement of self-studies, representatives

of the School, the Office of Academic Affairs, and APRC will meet with

units preparing for academic program reviews to explain the purpose of

the review process, to raise issues, and to answer questions.


Reporting guidelines for individual instructional units are appended

as Attachment A. Additional guidelines will be developed for use by external



Widespread participation and response are essential elements of program

review. During the review process:


Department chairs and program heads should assure that there is widespread

faculty participation in the self-studies and the faculty are made aware

of all findings and recommendations.


School Deans should assure that their Schools' programs are reviewed

in a timely fashion and that there is appropriate dissemination of information

and recommendations.


APRC should review all recommendations in a timely fashion and submit

its findings to appropriate units as expeditiously as possible.


Copies of reports made at each stage of the review process should be

distributed to all parties involved.