Academic program review is a comprehensive evaluation of academic programs led by the faculty, which assesses the effectiveness of the program and establishes an action plan for the next six years. Program review provides an opportunity to take a comprehensive look at an academic program and guide changes in the curriculum pedagogy, and faculty development. The primary purpose of this review is to analyze the current state of the program and plan for improvements in the student learning experience by engaging all stakeholders in critical review and discussion. The process is designed to explore how effectively programs:
- Offer a curriculum that is comprehensive, relevant, and cohesive and related to the mission
- Maintain sufficient enrollment to be a sustainable major at the university
- Provide sufficient advisement to program majors
- Offer a program in which majors can graduate on a timely basis
- Support and prepare its majors for internships and ultimately employment and further education
- Ensure appropriate faculty staffing levels and other resources.
In accordance with Marymount’s policy on assessment of academic programs, university programs are reviewed every six years. The Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (PIE), in consultation with the provost and Dean’s Council, coordinates the schedule of reviews and notifies programs when they are scheduled for review. Programs may request an alteration of their scheduled review when circumstances warrant it, usually to align with accreditation reporting. The provost may also initiate unscheduled reviews in exceptional circumstances.
PIE works with offices across campus to make data available for programs undergoing review. In addition, PIE provides advice, consultation and assistance as needed on many aspects of the program review process, including facilitating planning meetings, developing action plans, and providing assistance in survey design.
Program Review Checklist Rubric
This rubric is used to ensure that programs have addressed all of the required components of the program review. The Director of Institutional Assessment reviews reports for programs using this rubric as a checkpoint before reports are sent to external reviewers.
Budget and University Resources
Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management covers all costs associated with the visit of the external reviewer: this typically includes travel, accommodation, and a small honorarium. PIE works with offices across campus to make data available for programs undergoing review. In addition, PIE provides on request advice, consultation and assistance on many aspects of the program review process, including facilitating planning meetings, developing action plans, and providing assistance in survey design.
Tips for the Program Review Process
- Consider holding a retreat or other in-depth discussion among all faculty about program direction, priorities, and needs. Consider using a facilitator from outside the program; this can often improve the effectiveness of these meetings and increase participation from all parties.
- Divide the workload. This review should reflect input of all program faculty. Consider using a secure cloud-based drive, the MU shared drive, or other files sharing methods to facilitate collaboration.
- Encourage transparency. Engage related departments or administrative units. Involve students, staff, and alumni.
- Be concise and objective. Reports that speak only to strengths are easy to dismiss as public relations. Use this opportunity to reflect objectively and identify areas where attention should be paid. Focus on the main points and stay on track with page limits.
- Seek advice. Use PIE as a resource to answer questions and provide consultation and guidance.