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This is the Arizona State University Academic Program Review (APR) online manual. This online manual serves to outline procedures for the self-study committee and the site visit team in the successful completion of a program review.
The sections that follow are divided into four phases of the APR. Phase one describes the process the UPRA Office follows in notifying and preparing the unit for the upcoming review. Phase two is instructions to the unit for the preparation of the self-study document. Phase three provides instructions to site visitors regarding the visit and the site visit report. Phase four addresses the activities that occur after receipt of the final site visit report.
The UPRA Officer will notify the head of the unit and the dean of the unit under review that a review has been scheduled. Letters of notifications are sent out a year in advance of the actual review cycle.
The head of the unit should complete the APR Preliminary Information form (Appendix 1) to submit the faculty self-study committee names, the site visitor honoraria, and other pertinent information, along with the dean’s approval, to the UPRA office by May 1st of the academic year before their review.
The self-study committee will be responsible for preparing the self-study report (Appendix 2) as well as organizing and conducting the review activities. The committee consists of a chair and a maximum of six faculty members who are representative of the unit.
On the APR Preliminary Information Form, the head of unit will also designate the amount of the honoraria for the local site visitor and the non-local site visitors. There is not a required amount for the honoraria, but the unit should keep in mind that the visitors are committing to a 2-day visit, travel to and from Arizona, and writing a thorough site visit report.
This form submission should be approved by the dean either through signature or by email with the completed form attached to firstname.lastname@example.org.
*Reimbursements for travel expenses and payment of honorariums are the responsibility of the unit under review once the final site visit report has been received.
The head of the unit and self-study committee are encouraged to meet with their dean to ascertain if there are particular issues that the dean would like included or addressed in the self-study report.
In both the spring and fall semesters the UPRA Office organizes an Orientation Luncheon Meeting for the units currently under review and the units that have upcoming reviews. The unit heads are encouraged to invite the self-study chair, administrative support person, and the business office manager to attend as well as any other key players.
The orientation luncheon meeting will provide an overview of the APR process including preparation of the self-study report and its required format, locating relevant university data, payment of reimbursements and honorariums, as well as providing general direction and answering questions regarding the process.
Questions regarding the program assessment plans for the curricular offerings and assessment reports on the student learning outcomes should be directed to the University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (UOEEE). Questions regarding official university financial data for the unit under review should be directed to the Office of Institutional Analysis (IA). Official data for the self-study tables is available through the Academic Program Profile.
Any unit undergoing review may request an individual meeting with the UPRA Office at any time to discuss questions regarding the APR process.
The self-study report is written during the fall semester and the site visits are scheduled during the spring semester. UPRA office will provide all units under review several date options to choose from for their two-day site visits. Units will receive the potential site visit dates via email, and the dates will be confirmed on a first-come, first-served basis. Each unit will be asked to select a first and second choice of dates.
Using the Site Visitor Nomination Form (Appendix A3), each unit under review nominates six non-local academic site visitors who are professionals in the discipline of the unit along with three local community members who are, preferably, recent graduates of the unit. Please attempt to diversify your nominations (gender and race/ethnicity). Please do not nominate multiple individuals from the same Institution. If the academic unit has specialized areas (e.g., professional/disciplinary, basic/clinical), please indicate which site visitors are appropriate for the various specialty areas, and indicate the order in which visitors should be invited.
The UPRA staff will extend invitations to nominated site visitors. The unit should not make contact with potential site visitors before the site visit team has been identified by the UPRA office. A confirmation email identifying the site visit team will be sent from the UPRA office to the unit. Once the confirmation email has been received, the unit will make contact directly with the site visitors to make hotel/travel arrangements as well as forward the expense reimbursement and honorarium paperwork. (See Appendices 3A and 3B, non-local and local logistics letters.)
The site visit team plays an important evaluative role in the process by providing objectivity and helping the unit and university determine where the program fits within the discipline at regional, national, and international levels. The unit under review is best served by nominating qualified academics and professionals experienced in the discipline(s) under review.
Nominations should be submitted with complete current contact information (including physical address). The UPRA office will initiate all contact with potential site visitors.
Site visitor nominations should be submitted by the head of the unit under review, in consultation with the self-study committee faculty, along with the dean’s written approval.
Once the site visitors have accepted, the unit under review will receive a confirmation email from the UPRA Office identifying the site visit team.
At that point the unit should directly contact the non-local members of the site visit team to provide them with the reimbursement claim forms, request a copy of their travel itineraries, and notify them of their hotel arrangements and ground transportation to and from the airport. Hotel arrangements for non-local site visitors should be provided via the Site Visitor Logistics Template, Appendix 4A.
Units contact the local site visitor using the local site visitor logistics template in Appendix 4B. You will provide the local visitor with directions, parking information and validation instructions, and attach the appropriate forms for reimbursement, if necessary.
*Reimbursements for travel expenses and payment of honorariums are the responsibility of the unit under review once the final site visit report has been received.
The self-study report is an interpretive document that uses data to assess progress since the last review, current program status, and future directions (template found in Appendix 2).
Datasets for the self-study template are found at the Academic Program Profile data site. The dataset is tightly integrated into the template. Data should be analyzed and discussed in relation to a unit’s mission and goals.
Although the report is compiled and written by the self-study committee, the head of the unit is responsible for the content, accuracy, and completeness of the work, and should actively oversee the report preparation.
In the "Student Learning Outcomes Assessment" section of the self-study template, please refer to your Assessment Plans and the yearly Assessment Reports that you file with the University Office of Evaluation and Educational Effectiveness (UOEEE). Please provide some interpretation of the results since your last review and any program changes that have been made based on your assessment data. The assessment plans and reports should be submitted as an appendix to the self-study. Please use data from the Recent Graduate and the Alumni Surveys to address career placement outcomes, career preparation, and who is employing your graduates over the period since the last review.
The dean should review the self-study report and executive summary, and provide written approval, before it is forwarded to the UPRA Office.
The completed self-study report should be submitted to the UPRA office and can be emailed to email@example.com along with the written approval of the dean (which may be made by an accompanying email). Should the report and appendices be too large for email, the UPRA office will accept the documents via a shared folder (Google docs or Dropbox).
The UPRA office will review the self-study report. When necessary, suggested changes or improvements will be returned to the self-study committee for revision.
The final, dean-approved, self-study and appendices should be submitted to the UPRA office a minimum of three weeks prior to the site visit date. In addition to the self-study and appendices, the unit should submit the final, dean-approved, site visit schedule. See Appendix 6 for an example of a site visit schedule.
Once submitted, the UPRA office will convey all relevant documents to the visitors at least two weeks prior to their visit. The UPRA office will upload the documents to a shared folder and provide access for the site visit team.
Academic Program Reviews (APR) serve many purposes, the most important of which is to provide information to academic units and the university for continuous program improvement. The review should identify strengths and areas for improvement and also identify opportunities for future development. The site visit team plays an important evaluative role in the process by providing objectivity and helping the unit and university determine where the program fits within the discipline at regional, national, and international levels.
Entry and Exit Meetings
The site visit is scheduled for two full days. Please refer to Appendix 6 for a sample site visit schedule.
The site visit begins and ends with entry and exit meetings. The UPRA office sets the time of the meetings. Entry and exit meetings are the first and last meetings of the visit and are scheduled at 8:30-9:15 a.m. on day one and 2:30-3:30 p.m. on day two. The entry meeting attendees are the dean, executive director UPRA, associate director UPRA, unit head, and any additional people at the Dean’s discretion. The dean will determine if any additional people should be included in the exit meeting. The unit should provide the dean-approved site visit schedule to the UPRA Office at least three weeks prior to the scheduled visit.
During the construction of the site visit schedule please allow the site visitors at least one hour preceding the exit meeting to discuss major issues and preliminary findings in preparation for the site visit report and exit meeting discussion points. The unit should provide a quiet room with computer access for the site visitors.
Visits with students
Visits with faculty members
Visits with unit administrators
Visits with university administrators
Prior to and during the site visit, the visiting team will analyze the self-study report, collect additional relevant information as well as meet with faculty, students, alumni, community representatives, and unit administrators (e.g., dean, provost’s office, when applicable). The team will prepare a report identifying program strengths, concerns, and recommendations. In addition, the team will also tour the university to examine facilities and other resources if relevant for their review.
One of the site visitors should take the lead in drafting the report, but all are full participants and contributors to the report. The following information describes specific site visitor functions, responsibilities, and suggestions for maximizing the effectiveness and outcome of the APR process.
Site visitors will be granted access to a shared folder containing the relevant documents as a shared space to collaborate on producing the final site visit report.
There is a checklist of responsibilities available for the site visitor's use and convenience (see Appendix 11).
Communication between the site visit team and unit under review
The appropriate business paperwork should be sent to the visitors by the unit under review along with the site visit logistics letter (See Appendix 4A and 4B) shortly after the site visit team is confirmed. Site visitors should send the unit their original travel receipts along with the completed business paperwork at the conclusion of their visit.
The unit under review will reimburse any appropriate site visit expenses and an honorarium for each visitor upon receipt of the final site visit report.
Two weeks prior to the site visit
Two to three weeks prior to the site visit, the UPRA office will upload the self-study report, along with any necessary appendices, and the final site visit schedule to the shared folder for the visiting team.
Three to four weeks after the site visit
The site visitors will submit a site visit report that summarizes program evaluations and recommendations to the UPRA office at firstname.lastname@example.org. The next section provides instructions pertaining to the site visit report. The UPRA office will distribute copies to the head of the unit, the dean, and others as appropriate.
Once the site visit report has been received (along with a signature page from each visitor, see Appendix 7), the UPRA office will notify the unit under review so they can process expense reimbursements and honorariums.
The site visit team is asked to provide an assessment of the future direction and strategic initiatives of the unit as they relate to the unit’s mission and vision for its programs. The site visit report should be submitted electronically to the UPRA office approximately three weeks after the site visit.
The UPRA office will distribute copies to the dean, the head of the unit, and any other appropriate parties. The site visit report should be accompanied by a signature page (Appendix 7) executed by each visitor indicating their concurrence or disagreement with the report. There is space provided for context for disagreement.
There is not a specific format requirement for the site visit report. The contents and length vary depending on the nature and size of the program under review. Although we ask that the report address each of the substantive areas described below, other program dimensions important to program quality and future development may also be addressed.
Mission and goals
Strategic initiatives and future direction of the unit
Learning objectives and curricular effectiveness
Student recruitment, retention, and placement
Faculty and staff quality
Conclusions and recommendations
Once all members of the site visit team have reviewed and concur or disagree with the contents of the report (signified by individually executed signature pages, Appendix 7), the report and signature pages should be emailed or mailed to the UPRA office:
U.S. Mail to:
University Program Review and Accreditation Office
Executive Director for Accreditation and Academic Program Review
Office of the University Provost
Arizona State University
PO Box 877805
Tempe, AZ 85287-7805
*Upon receipt of the site visit report and a signature page executed by each site visitor (Appendix 7), the UPRA Office will notify the unit to reimburse site visitor expenses and honorariums.
Once the site visit report is received, it will be reviewed and shared with the head of the academic unit under review and the dean.
The head of the unit should review and discuss the site visit report with the faculty and prepare a unit response report for the Provost that addresses program strengths and deficiencies, faculty and student quality, resource needs, future plans, strategic initiatives, etc.
The unit response report should be submitted to the UPRA Office by the date specified in the memorandum accompanying transmission of the site visit report (usually three weeks after distribution of the site visit report).
Note: The unit response report will be shared with university officials as appropriate. The unit response and dean's response must be independent from each other, not a collaborative report.
This should be a focused statement about the value derived from the review, any issues that arose, and the recommendations from the external reviewers. Please provide a bullet point list of each recommendation alongside the academic dean’s response to each. The dean’s report should be submitted to the UPRA Office by the date specified (usually three weeks after receipt of the site visit report).
Note: The unit response and dean’s summary should be independent reports.
Briefly review and respond to major strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities discussed in the site visit report.
II. Strategic plans to address concerns
A. Issue 1 (identify issue)
B. Issue 2 (identify issue)
III. Additional information
Discuss any other program changes and developments related to the APR generally and the site visit report specifically.
The wrap-up phase will include an assessment of the site visit team’s findings and the unit’s response by university officials. This phase may also include a meeting with the head of the unit, the UPRA Officer, and the dean if there are concerns or if further clarification is deemed necessary before the final wrap-up of the APR.
The self-study report, site visit report, dean’s report to the Provost, unit response report, and any wrap up reports will be considered the permanent record of the APR process and stored electronically with the UPRA office. A summary report prepared by the UPRA Office will be forwarded to the Arizona Board of Regents.