Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement: Core Component 4.A

4.A - Core Component 4.A

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs.

  1. The institution maintains a practice of regular program reviews.
  2. The institution evaluates all the credit that it transcripts, including what it awards for experiential learning or other forms of prior learning, or relies on the evaluation of responsible third parties.
  3. The institution has policies that assure the quality of the credit it accepts in transfer.
  4. The institution maintains and exercises authority over the prerequisites for courses, rigor of courses, expectations for student learning, access to learning resources, and faculty qualifications for all its programs, including dual credit programs. It assures that its dual credit courses or programs for high school students are equivalent in learning outcomes and levels of achievement to its higher education curriculum.
  5. The institution maintains specialized accreditation for its programs as appropriate to its educational purposes.
  6. The institution evaluates the success of its graduates. The institution assures that the degree or certificate programs it represents as preparation for advanced study or employment accomplish these purposes. For all programs, the institution looks to indicators it deems appropriate to its mission, such as employment rates, admission rates to advanced degree programs, and participation rates in fellowships, internships, and special programs (e.g., Peace Corps and Americorps).


4.A.1  Arizona Board of Regents requires that all academic programs undergo a formal Academic Program Review at least once every seven years. The Executive Director for Accreditation and Program Review serves as the University Program Review Accreditation (UPRA) Officer and is responsible for oversight of all program reviews. 

Academic Program Review is conducted in an extensive, year-long process during which an academic unit prepares a Self-Study Report as described in the Academic Program Review Manual addressing the program’s mission and goals, educational objectives, curriculum, and assessment of student learning outcomes; the quality and diversity of the faculty, staff, and students; resources and facilities; and strategic initiatives and future directions. A sample of a self-study report from the T. Denny Sanford School for Social and Family Dynamics is available for review.

The external site visit team reviews a copy of the self-study report, participates in a two-day site visit, and submits a report noting strengths and areas for improvement. Site visit reports are shared with the Office of the University Provost, the academic unit, and the relevant dean’s office for follow-up. The Dean prepares a brief summary of the site visitors' report listing concerns and planned unit responses for the Provost's review. After consultation with the Provost, the Dean gives feedback to the Unit Director. The Unit Director then prepares the official Unit Response Report that addresses any concerns and recommendations noted in the Site Visit Report. A summary report, prepared by the University Program Review Accreditation Officer, is presented to the ABOR Academic and Student Affairs Committee.

4.A.2 and 4.A.3  ASU has formal policies regarding the transfer of course credit. ASU accepts credit for traditional courses that have been successfully completed at other regionally-accredited higher education institutions only after appropriate review. ASU does not accept academic credit for prior experiential learning that is not credited on a transcript from an accredited institution.

In general, credit for courses with a grade of C or better may be transferred from accredited institutions. The specific applicability of any credit transferred for satisfying requirements in academic programs and for awarding degrees, however, is subject to the approval of the academic unit and college in which the program is housed.

ASU has established policies for credit by examinationCollege Level Examination Program (CLEP), as well as credit for Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) examinations.

Academic Partnerships, a unit of the Office of the University Provost, serves as a resource for community college employees, as well as ASU faculty and staff, regarding student preparation for university success, partnership programs, community college relations and transfer programs, and issues resolution. Academic Partnerships initiates and manages partnerships with community colleges and other institutions, both in-state and out-of-state, in collaboration with staff in undergraduate admissions, academic advising, and curriculum. ASU’s Guided Pathways to Success Programs (MAPP, TAG, GPA) “serve as a national model for helping community college students understand requirements and receive continuous support during their years at the community college to prepare for success at ASU.” ASU’s Office of Academic Partnerships coordinates a Faculty Conversation Series each year between the Maricopa County Community College District and ASU’s academic colleges which “helps facilitate deeper conversation among faculty colleagues about their discipline, allowing them to talk about their mutual interests, the employment outlook for graduates, and ways in which they can collaborate.”

ASU has formed a Transfer Operations Team that provides primary leadership for helping community colleges continue to improve their transfer students’ learning, satisfaction, and graduation. The Transfer Operations Team periodically convenes key individuals to review transfer student data; share information about services, tools, and best practices across ASU; strategize about communication and collaboration with community college partners; and discuss ideas and develop plans for improving transfer student success. In fall 2016, Academic Partnerships launched a new program, Transfer Student Ambassadors, for which 20-25 Maricopa and Arizona community and tribal college alumni serve as hosts and speakers at orientations and receptions at the community colleges and at ASU. They also visit community college classrooms and club/organization meetings to answer prospective transfer students’ questions.

ASU participated in the John N. Gardner Institute Foundations of Excellence Program (Transfer Focus) in 2015-16 and implemented the ASU Transfer Matters Initiative. Through this initiative, a university-level team examined all aspects of the transfer student experience for students in ASU’s three arts and sciences colleges and produced a “plan for institutional improvement leading to higher levels of transfer student learning, satisfaction, and graduation” (September 2016).

4.A.4  The faculty and the individual academic units are the ultimate authority for planning prerequisites and course sequences; determining breadth, depth, and rigor of course content; identifying course learning outcomes; clarifying expectations for and assessing student learning; providing access to resources; and verifying faculty qualifications. Course proposals are reviewed and approved through a rigorous process governed by faculty members, including reviews by the Curriculum and Academic Programs Committee (CAPC), the University Academic Senate, and the Office of the University Provost, as described in detail in 3.A and 3.B. The academic equivalency of the dual credit programs are coordinated by AZTransfer and assessed by examination (described in 3.B.1, 4.A.2 and 4.A.3). As an example, schools in the Chandler Unified High School District are partnering with ASU to offer an AP course in Environmental Science (Course Statement and Course description) that provides credit for SOS 110, Sustainable World at ASU (SOS 110 syllabus).

4.A.5  There are over fifty ASU academic programs with specialized accreditations from such organizations as the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET), the American Bar Association (ABA), the American Dietetic Association, the American Psychological Association (APA), and the Council of Social Work Education (CSWE). These specialized accreditation reviews examine the appropriateness of the program curricula, learning outcomes, and assessment strategies; the quality of the faculty; and the relevance of student program experiences and issue a letter authorizing the re-accreditation of the program. Similar to Academic Program Reviews, professional programs prepare a self-study report and participate in a site visit. Site visit reports are shared with the Office of the University Provost, the academic unit, and the relevant dean’s office for follow-up. The unit director prepares a response report that addresses any concerns and recommendations noted in the site visit report. The Executive Director for Accreditation and Program Review serves as the University Program Review Accreditation (UPRA) Officer and provides guidance and assistance with all aspects of the specialized accreditation process.

4.A.6  Academic programs at ASU are assessed through a variety of measures, including the following:  

  • Institutional rankings of students earning prestigious national and international awards and recognition. In highly competitive national awards, ASU students are among the best in the country. To name a few national student awards, ASU is the:
    • #5 for producing the best qualified graduates by the Wall Street Journal’s employer survey. 
    • #9 for preparing graduates for jobs by Times Higher Education (ahead of MIT, Columbia, Johns Hopkins, Duke, UCLA, and the University of California)
    • #9 for graduate employability (ahead of MIT, Columbia University and UCLA). (2016 Global University Employability Survey of recruiters and managing directors). 
    • Ford Automotive named ASU as a premier, top tier recruiting and hiring institution (2016). 
    • The U.S. News and World Report ranked 36 ASU programs (e.g., journalism, The Honors College, public affairs, law, engineering, business, science, education, arts, and health) among the country’s top 25
    • #1 university in Arizona for veterans by Military Times (2016) 
    • #7 college for veterans in the country by College Factual (2016). 
    • #1 public university for international students by the International Education Exchange [2015, 2016 -- Open Doors Report].
    • Ranked in the top one-half of one percent in the world by the Center for World University Rankings (2016). 
  • Results from institutional surveys. The University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (UOEEE) conducts annual surveys of ASU’s graduating students and alumni as indirect measures of student learning and the impact of the ASU experience. Surveys inquire about participation in internships and other types of learning experiences while attending ASU, post-graduation employment, enrollment and degree attainment since leaving ASU, and completion of professional certification and/or licensure. UOEEE survey data are routinely used in academic program assessment, program review and accreditation, strategic planning and decision making, and official reporting by colleges, departments and academic units.

Key survey results for individual academic units are posted in the university’s Academic Program Profile website, via UOEEE’s data analytics site, and through academic plan and department reports. An example of an Academic Program Profile report is provided for the Department of Psychology.