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Academic Program Review

Purpose and Guiding Principles

The Arizona Board of Regents (2-208) requires Academic Program Reviews at least once every seven years. Periodic program reviews provide a mechanism for faculty to evaluate the effectiveness, progress and status of their academic programs on a continuous basis. At Arizona State University, the Executive Director for Accreditation and Program Review serves as the University Program Review Accreditation (UPRA) Officer and is responsible for oversight of program reviews. The Office of the University Provost coordinates the Academic Program Review process, which covers all program inventory of an academic unit including undergraduate and graduate programs as well as other curricular offerings such as certificates.

The program review process is intended to provide a comprehensive assessment of the current status of an academic unit based on its programs, activities and achievements since its last program review while also providing the unit the opportunity to think strategically regarding its curricular offerings and its future direction. In doing so, the unit provides comparisons with its peers, identifies strengths and weaknesses in its curriculum and instruction; assesses student quality and educational (learning) outcomes; provides an account of faculty contributions in teaching, research/creative activities, and service; assesses resource availability and needs; and summarizes special features or services provided by the unit. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the program review should allow the unit, in conjunction with the university, to plan to build on existing strengths, maximize opportunities for growth and solve current problems.

The APR process allows the unit to evaluate thoroughly and candidly:

  • The mission and goals of the program and it's relation to those of the university.
  • Its future direction and strategic initiatives.
  • The reputation of the program among peers in the discipline.
  • The educational objectives, curriculum, and student learning outcomes of undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • The quality of teaching and retention and graduation rates for undergraduate and graduate students.
  • The quality and diversity of faculty and staff and their contributions to program mission and goals.
  • Resources (e.g., laboratories, physical facilities)
  • Readiness for accreditation, if appropriate.

The APR process should provide a candid assessment of program strengths and weaknesses and should result in program improvement. To this end, the unit under review is asked to address all of the data points that are available at the Academic Program Profile data site (https://app.vpaa.asu.edu/) for a systematic evaluation of all of its program offerings.  The format of the self-study report is intended to be data driven, reflective, and assessment-based rather than narrative-based.  The document should offer a descriptive analysis of all of the curricular offerings of the unit, the scholarly/research accomplishments of program faculty, and the future plans of the unit for its programs.  The guiding principles for the APR process include:

  • The process should be broadly participatory involving faculty, students, staff administrators, and relevant community constituents.
  • The APR should provide a framework for excellence; an opportunity to explore, enhance, and integrate student learning and faculty teaching, service and scholarly efforts into the unit's mission and goals.
  • The process should facilitate short-term and long-term strategic planning in areas such as curricular development, resource allocation (e.g., financial, physical), faculty/staff hiring/workload and research foci.
  • The APR provides opportunity for the university to account for its use of public resources and facilitate support among its various constituencies.

The sections that follow are divided into two parts. The first part is Program Review Procedures and includes instructions to units preparing for the APR process and the preparation of the self-study report.  The second part provides instructions to Site Visitors. Those directly responsible for the APR process should familiarize themselves with both parts along with the related appendices. 

Resources

Questions?

Please email apr@asu.edu with any questions.