Academic program review is one of the primary means by which the University analyzes its educational offerings and the operational support for them. The Program Review Committee, chaired by the director of assessment, represents the seven academic divisions of the University: business and technology, education, fine arts, health sciences, humanities, math and natural sciences, and social sciences. The Program Review Committee is responsible for evaluating 40 academic programs contained within all departments and the general education program.
To prepare for program review, which takes place on a five-year rotation, each department chair receives a program review binder containing templates for the necessary documentation one year in advance of the scheduled review. Required documents include description and analysis of the department’s philosophy and mission, curriculum, personnel, students, assessment procedures, market trends, and five-year department goals aligned with the University’s strategic plan.
Program reviews are submitted to the provost on October 1 in the fall semester or February 1 in the spring semester and forwarded to the Program Review Committee. Each member of the committee reads the portfolio and completes a program review evaluation form. A subcommittee consisting of a division chair, representatives from a department reviewed the previous year, and representatives from a department that will be reviewed the following year lead the evaluation discussion. Through a consensus process, committee members complete a final evaluation. Evaluation results provide information about the size, stability, and vitality of a program, student demand, adequacy of resources, and contributions to the University mission. Results guide the institution in making decisions about academic direction and resource allocation to ensure ongoing academic excellence. Examples of recommendations to various academic departments from program reviews occurring in 2007–2012 follow.
- Conduct employer satisfaction surveys to determine student job preparedness (Art/Art History, Athletic Training).
- Conduct market analysis to determine need to expand and explore new programs (Art/Art History).
- Differentiate assessment reports between graduate and undergraduate programs (Accounting and Business, Nursing).
- Engage in articulation agreements with community colleges (Athletic Training).
- Increase collaborative research projects involving students and faculty members (Biology).