The Purpose of Department and Program Reviews
It is important to continually test and review the efficacy of our Academic Programs. We must be sure that we are meeting the needs of our students, as well as providing a premier level of education. Academic Reviews help ensure that we are working towards the Mission of Augsburg University, as well as keeping an eye to the future of education and the future of our institution.
Academic Program Reviews offer us the opportunity to measure our successes, as well as seek out areas for improvement. We must continue to evolve and improve, and program reviews provide us with strategies for the success of our students, as well as the success of our university. These reports are also necessary for our accreditation process and vital to the ability to meet and exceed the standards of an Augsburg University education.
A Suggested Timeline for External Academic Program Review
- 6 Months Prior to Visit: Department Chairs should start thinking about and selecting external reviewers.
*It is up to the Department Chair to contact the reviewers. (sample invitation for external reviewers)
- 3-4 Months Prior: The Department Chairs should be working on their Program Reports.
- 2-3 Months Prior: Dates for the Academic Program Review should be identified.
- 1 Month Prior: The Report is given to the Dean.
- 2-3 Weeks Prior: The Report goes out to the reviewers.
- 2-3 Months After Receiving the Report: The Department Chair should meet with the Dean to discuss next steps and then prepare an action plan.
Frequently Asked Questions
How should we prepare the self-study guide?
Information on the self-study is contained in the Program Review Self-Study Guide.
How should we choose reviewers?
External reviewers should be selected for their knowledge and expertise in the program’s discipline. It is generally recommended that reviewers are chosen from institutions that are comparable to, or familiar with, Augsburg and/or have specialized knowledge in a specific area of interest identified by the program as a priority. The academic dean overseeing the program must approve the reviewers. Department chairs or program directors typically submit a list of approximately four possible reviewers (along with brief descriptions of each) to the dean for consideration.
What is expected from the reviewers?
Reviewers are expected to have read the program self-study document in advance of their visit. They typically spend 1.5-2 days on campus meeting with students, faculty and staff. Reviewers are expected to provide a written report of their findings to the department/program chair and the dean within 4 weeks of their visit.
How are reviewers compensated?
Reviewers receive $750 plus travel expenses.
Who arranges the site visit and what should be included?
Department chairs should work with the Executive Assistant in Academic Affairs to coordinate travel and schedule arrangements for the reviewers. It is largely up to the department chair to schedule meetings with faculty, staff and students. The Executive Assistant in Academic Affairs will coordinate opening and closing meetings with the dean and provost. In preparing the schedule, take care not to overschedule the reviewers. To assist with the preparation of the final report, departments should build ‘work time’ into the reviewers’ schedules so that they can debrief and discuss how they will approach the final document.
What happens with the final report?
The reviewers are expected to provide a final written report of their findings to the department/program chair and dean within 4 weeks of their visit.
What should we do in terms of follow-up?
Once the written report is receive, the department/program should meet to review the report and to discuss next steps. Within 2-3 months of receiving the report, the department (or department chair) should meet with the dean to discuss potential next steps and strategic priorities. The chair will work with the dean to craft a formal plan, to which both parties can agree; when complete, the plan is forwarded to the provost for approval.
You can refer to the Master Calendar near the top of this page to see who has recently gone through the process, and reach out to the department directly to ask if they are willing to offer any added input.
Below are links to articles about Academic Program Reviews, as well as to the review processes of other colleges and universities. They can help provide some added insight and direction.
Avoiding the Potholes of Program Review February 27, 2017
Encounters with the Usual Suspects April 26, 2017
Choosing an External Reviewer June 06, 2017