4.4 Academic Program Review

Board of Regents Policy Manual, Section 3.6.3.

The Institute shall conduct academic program reviews on a periodic basis. Consistent with efforts in institutional effectiveness and strategic planning, the Institute shall develop procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of its academic programs through a systematic review of academic programs, to address the quality, viability, and productivity of efforts in teaching and learning, scholarship, general education (undergraduate programs), diversity, educational and administrative support services in addition to the program’s research, and community/public service as appropriate to the Institute’s educational mission. Each degree program at all levels (bachelors, masters, and doctoral) must have published intended student learning outcomes, and measurements must be made and records kept to show whether students actually achieve these outcomes. The review of academic programs shall involve analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, and the Institute must demonstrate that it makes judgments about the future of academic programs within a culture of evidence concerning outcomes.

The cycle of review for each undergraduate academic program shall be no longer than seven years and for each graduate program no longer than ten years. Programs accredited by external entities may not substitute such reviews under external processes for the Institute’s program review. Academic units should work with the Office of Program Review and Accreditation to compare the requirements of the external accreditation organization and those of the University System of Georgia Board of Regents (USG-BoR) as well as the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) to develop a review that will address all areas for the institutional program review. If an external accreditation entity’s review cycle for undergraduate programs is ten years, the ten-year review cycle may be used for that program only. No program review cycle at any level shall exceed ten years.

The Institute must submit a plan and updates to its plan to the USG Office of Academic Affairs for the conduct of a complete cycle of program review. The Institute shall conduct program reviews according to the terms of its approved plan, with annual updates and requests for changes to the plan as necessary.

Planning and conduct of academic program reviews shall be used for the progressive improvement and adjustment of programs in the context of the Institute’s strategic plan and in response to findings and recommendations of the reviews. Adjustment may include program enhancement, maintenance at the current level, reduction in scope, or, if fully justified, consolidation or termination. Actions taken as the result of reviews and strategic plans shall be documented as provided below.

The Institute shall maintain a Web site to store all materials associated with academic program reviews. Access to the site will be provided to Institute curriculum committee members, staff of the USG Office of Academic Affairs, and SACS reviewers designated to perform a review of completed program review documentation. The site shall include a list of academic programs reviewed and a summary of findings for programs reviewed during the previous year. The institution must summarize actions taken both as the result of current reviews and as follow-up to prior years' reviews. For each review, the Institute must establish that the program has undergone review and is meeting rigorous standards. The report must identify

1)    Quality, viability, and productivity parameters measured, and
2)    Findings relative to internal standards, the institution's strategic plan, and, as appropriate, external benchmarks.

The USG Office of Academic Affairs shall monitor annually a small number of performance indicators for academic programs and shall initiate dialogue with the Provost of the Institute when programs do not meet the guidelines defined by the indicators. If further investigation justifies additional study, the Institute may be asked to conduct an off-cycle review of such programs.

Annual Assessment Updates
To support the Institute’s commitment to academic program assessment, all degree programs send in a summary of their student assessment activities, findings, and subsequent actions via annual assessment updates. These are maintained and archived by the Office of Assessment for use throughout the Institute.

Program Review Organization
Each year a list of units and programs that are due for review will be prepared by the Office of Assessment after coordination with the Associate Deans of each college. After review of this list and advice from the Faculty Executive Board, the Office of Assessment will prepare the annual program review guidelines, letters of notification to affected units, and will offer to facilitate planning meetings with each college Dean and appropriate faculty and staff prior to the start of the review process. Each review will consist of a departmental self-evaluation and an external evaluation and report.  All written results are then conveyed to the Dean, Vice Provosts, and Provost to assist with making recommendations to the faculty and staff in the unit.  The Faculty Executive Board will also receive a report and make recommendations as appropriate on conclusions and plans emanating from academic program reviews that have been completed.
 

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