Academic Program Review - Program Review Committee
The cyclical review of academic degree programs is intended to provide collegial, comprehensive attention to the quality and resources of each program, as well as to comply with accreditation mandates. It is additional and complementary to the annual assessment reports done by each school and the routine assessment of student learning results in the program. The review focuses on the overall performance of a program, including enrollment and fiscal data.
The review process is not perfect. The data available may not be sufficiently program specific, and data that could be helpful may not be collected or may not be compiled in a way most useful to analysis. Especially in the case of interdisciplinary programs (MAIS, Secondary Education, etc.), it is difficult to represent data in an informative way, and not all of the review procedures may be applicable. The intention, therefore, must be to provide meaningful review, while recognizing the limitation and cost/benefit considerations involved in compiling and communication relevant data.
Relevant questions to ask of any program are the following:
- Are credible procedures in place for assessing student learning in the program?
- Are the results of assessment being used to try to improve the program?
- Do faculty have appropriate credentials for the level of instruction?
- Are faculty participating in the professional life of their discipline?
- Are enrollments and graduation rates stable, growing, or declining?
- Are student-faculty ratios reasonably in line with university averages?
- What kinds of information would be helpful for future reviews of the program?
Data on salary costs and formula revenue are provided for comparative purposes, but do not warrant much analysis. Salary costs are mainly related to field, rank, and years in rank. Formula revenues must cover a good deal more than faculty salaries. The student/faculty ratio provides the best overall indicator of program productivity.
The committee should feel free to call on the provost, Institutional Research director, dean, or program faculty, should it have questions or need further information. Also, the institution's Fact Book contains a good deal of data that may be helpful.