Indicators and Standards for the 7th Cycle of Academic Program Review Policy

Reference Number: F14-270
Senate Approval Date: Tuesday, December 09, 2014



  1. Pro ram Plannin . In charting their future within the discipline and the university, programs maintain effective planning processes that assess their successes, challenges, and opportunities. These processes involve the faculty as a whole and build on evidence of student learning and achievement for continuous improvement.
  2. Student Learning and Achievement. Programs maintain meaningful and specific learning goals that reflect students' distinct educational needs at every stage of their academic development, from lower division to graduate; they advance high-impact practices and active learning by encouraging and rewarding pedagogical innovation; and they use evidence of student learning to assess and plan their courses and curriculum.
  3. The Curriculum. A program's curriculum should reflect the highest standards of academic excellence and alignment with the "Educational Goals for the Baccalaureate at San Francisco State University" (RS08-263). Effective curricula lead students along coherent pathway¶ from foundational levels to advanced achievement in the discipline or field, and they seek to meet students' enrollment needs by balancing course offerings across the full range of their curriculum, including (where relevant) general education, major requirements, electives, and graduate courses.
  4. Faculty. Faculty are critical to the success of a program. Excellence in teaching and research or professional practice is essential to SF State's distinctive commitment to uniting academic quality and broad access. Programs should strive for faculty diversity, workload equity, and an appropriate balance of teaching, research, and service. Programs should consider how teaching professional activities, and community involvement help the faculty engage with changing directions in the discipline; how the effectiveness of teaching, professional activities, and community involvement is being supported; and how faculty are responding to changes in the university.
  5. Resources. Resources are not only financial but also take the form of human resources, schedules, facilities, and external resources; it is imperative for programs to steward these resources with care. Programs that balance their resources deliver a sustainable and highquality curriculum and maintain a supportive and collegial environment; they cultivate and utilize the professional expertise of their staff; they meet students' needs through advising, course planning, and scheduling; and they allocate offices, classrooms, laboratories, and other spaces equitably, to create rich learning environments for all.



'T No sensible decision can be made any longer without taking into account not only the world as it is but also the world as it will be."

—Isaac Asimov


A program review cycle offers an opportunity to look ahead and set new goals for a future that none of us can predict but all must anticipate. Past cycles of program reviews have focused on multiple measures of quality and sustainability that have enabled programs to review their historic and current status in terms of student achievement* curricular offerings, faculty experience, and resource distribution. The 7 th cycle asks programs to build on this base of institutional self-knowledge while planning for future change. Change is inevitable in an environment such as ours, and its drivers are both external—given the shifting landscape of public funding, student demographics, and the modalities of instruction—and internal, since disciplines are by their nature dynamic, and growth and transformation mark the learning process for both faculty as researchers and educators and the students we serve.

Standards of quality and sustainability ask for descriptions of how things are; standards of success ask for the goals and measures that direct how things should and might be. This new cycle intends to provoke programs to engage in meaningful self-reflection, intentional goal-setting, and purposeful planning. At a fundamental level, it asks what programs mean by success, what success will mean in the future, and how they plan to get from here to there.

Programmatic success can be measured from multiple angles. The 7 th cycle will focus on what is arguably the most important object of our collective responsibility: the curriculum. The curriculum is where numerous aspects of a program's identity and concern come together. It is where we represent and communicate the state of knowledge in our discipline and where we engage, inspire, and assess high-quality student learning; where we balance the requirements of the university with those of the discipline, whether our programs include general education, traditional academic subjects, or specialized professional or graduate training; and where we make the most powerful statement about our priorities through our distribution and balance of resources, including the valuable and limited resource of faculty time and energy. Fundamentally, the curriculum is where a program comes together to tell the story of what it is. By focusing on the curriculum, then, we invite programs to articulate their identity, to assess their current successes in the vital areas of student learning, disciplinary achievement, and resource allocation, and to draw on these foundations as they set, and plan to meet, their highest goals for the future.