Sac State University Policy Manual

Academic Program Reviews

Policy Administrator: Vice President for Academic Affairs
Authority:
Effective Date: April 13, 2000; Updated February 2002; November 2003; Spring 2004
Updated:
Index Cross-References: Self Study
Policy File Number: FSA00010.htm



A. Self Study
B. Review Team Composition Guidelines
C. External Consultants Procedures
D. Consultant's Visit Procedures
E. Program Review Team Procedures
F. Program Review Oversight Committee
G. Self Study Guidelines
H. Assessment Plan Guidelines

A. The Self Study

1. Board of Trustees regulations require that every academic unit be reviewed on a regularly scheduled basis. Letters are sent by Academic Affairs to alert each department scheduled for program review to begin preparing its self-study and to compile a file of course syllabi and faculty resumes. These self studies are to conform to a common University format, including implementation of the university assessment policy (see: Self-Study Guidelines) and utilize data supplied by the University for program planning and evaluation.

2. Drafts of the self-study should be forwarded to the Dean's office for comment and prior to submitting the final report to Academic Affairs. Six copies of the self-study report and two copies of the course syllabi and faculty resumes (secured binders) are to be submitted to Academic Affairs in May prior to the year the program review will take place. If material is submitted in an electronic format, hard copies are not necessary.

3. Academic Affairs will distribute copies of the self-study report to members of the Review Team and the external consultant. One copy of the course syllabi and faculty resumes will be sent to the consultant and the other copy will be retained by Academic Affairs and made available to the Review Team. (see: Self-Study Guidelines)

Programs With National Accreditation Reviews
4. A unit may request that Academic Affairs synchronize its program review with its national accreditation review. The purpose of such a request would be to allow the use of the national accreditation self-study and visitor report to answer some or all of the self-study guideline questions. Such synchronization would mean scheduling the program review for the same year or the year following the national accreditation. In either case, the internal program review cycle should be similar to that of other programs, namely every six years.

5. For programs with an external accreditation, the Vice President for Academic Affairs may authorize acceptance of the external accreditation review in lieu of the campus program review. The appropriate College Dean or Academic Affairs may request a full internal program review.

B. Review Team Composition Guidelines

Program Review Team Size
1. Program Review Teams shall have a minimum of three and a maximum of nine members. A majority of the members shall be faculty.

Selection of Team Chairs
2. Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Chair of the Curriculum Policies Committee, approves members to serve as Review Team chairs.

Selection of Review Teams
3. Academic Affairs, in consultation with the Review Team chair, selects faculty members to serve on Review Teams. Departments are invited to review and approve the Review Team membership.

4. No more than one faculty member from the same department or unit (unit is not to be defined as a College) shall serve on a review team.

5. Appointed members of review teams may disqualify themselves from service if they believe there may be a conflict of interest in serving.

6. Units being reviewed may request a change in membership of a review team if the unit presents reasons why a conflict of interest may be present in one or more of the team members.

C. External Consultants Procedures

1. The program review shall use at least one external consultant and may use two as determined by Academic Affairs.

2. Academic Affairs writes department chairs to nominate potential external consultants.

3. Academic Affairs requests consultant nominees from other Academic Affairs offices in the system.

4. Letters are sent to the nominees to ascertain their willingness to serve. Copies of resumes are requested.

5. Copies of the nominees' resumes are sent to the department chair and Review Team chair for review.

6. After consultation with the department chair, the Review Team chair submits to Academic Affairs two or three names of agreed upon potential consultants.

7. Upon approval by Academic Affairs, the Review Team chair formally invites the potential consultant and ascertains possible dates for a campus visit.

8. The Review Team chair submits the name of the consultant finally selected to Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs will send a letter to the consultant confirming the appointment and outlining the process and procedures for the visit. A copy of the department's self-study report, including Syllabi and Curriculum Vitae, is sent to the consultant.

9. The Review Team chair should supply additional information requested by the consultant with the assistance of the office of Academic Affairs.

D. Consultant's Visit Procedures

1. The department chair is the host for the consultant's visit and responsible for arranging transportation to and from the airport and hotel, and providing an escort to and from meetings.

2. Academic Affairs schedules the introductory meeting with the Review Team chair and Academic Affairs, the meeting with the college dean (or designee), the meeting with the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies (if appropriate), and the exit interview. The proposed schedule is sent to the department chair and Review Team chair.

3. The department chair is responsible for arranging and scheduling additional meetings for the consultant with departmental personnel (chair, program coordinators, etc.) and students.

4. The Review Team chair will work with the department chair to reserve a time on the consultant's schedule for a Review Team meeting.

5. Lunch on the first day of the visit is scheduled by and with the department chair. Usually departments also host the evening dinner for the consultant as well.

6. Lunch on the second day is with the Review Team chair and members of the Review Team. Arrangements will be made, if requested, by the office of Academic Affairs.

7. The exit interview with the consultant, arranged by Academic Affairs, will include the college Dean, the Department chair, members of the Department faculty (if they choose), Academic Affairs, the Associate Dean for Graduate Studies (if appropriate), and the Review Team. The exit interview must be taped. A tape recorder is available in the office of Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs is responsible for taping the exit interview.

8. The department chair must submit the final schedule to Academic Affairs one week prior to the consultant's visit. Academic Affairs will send copies of the schedule to the consultant and the Review Team members.

9. The consultant is expected to submit to Academic Affairs a written report of his/her findings and recommendations within two weeks of the visit. Academic Affairs will distribute copies of the consultant's report to the department chair, the college dean, and the Review Team members.

E. Program Review Team Procedures

1. The Program Review Team examines the unit's self study and other relevant materials, conducts interviews, and gathers additional information including the comments of the outside consultants.

2. The Program Review Team collaborates on the preparation of a detailed substantive report reflecting both qualitative and quantitative aspects of all programs offered by the unit, including both commendations and recommendations. It is the responsibility of the Review Team chair to confer with as many team members as possible and to discuss the contents of the report with team members and the academic program faculty prior to final editing and subsequent submission to the Program Review Oversight Committee of the Faculty Senate's Curriculum Policies Committee. The Review Team chair acts as a nonvoting consultant to the Oversight Committee when his or her Team report is under consideration.

3. After conducting meetings with the department, and others as needed, and receiving the consultant's written report, the program Review Team chair prepares a draft report in consultation with the Review Team and a representative from Academic Affairs.

4. The Chair of the Program Review Team forwards the draft report to the Program Review Oversight Committee. The Committee will review the recommendations with the Review Chair for the purpose of ensuring consistency and balance. If a conditional approval is recommended, the Oversight Committee will vote to approve the recommendation or to, instead, grant full approval. The process is specified in section F under conditional approvals below.

5. The Chair of the Program Review Team's draft report is then forwarded to the unit whose program(s) is being reviewed and the dean of the College of the reviewed unit. The unit and the dean are given two weeks to respond to the report, correct inaccuracies in fact or data, and take reasoned exception to judgments or conclusions drawn.

6. Recommendations should be made to the University, to the Dean, and to the Department. At each of these levels, recommendations should be grouped into resource, curricular, or personnel categories. While the major focus of the Program Review is to evaluate the academic program, Review Teams should look at all issues.

7. Recommendations should be general rather than specific, and where possible, suggestions for solutions should provide examples of approaches rather than specific suggestions. For example, "The department should consider ways to reduce the faculty workload. This might consist of: consolidating small classes to reduce the number of course preparations, reviewing the number of academic categories individual classes meet, restructuring course enrollments so more flexibility might be achieved in allocating resources, and developing advising strategies so the advisement load is evenly distributed."

F. Program Review Oversight Committee

Membership

1. The Program Review Team chairs, a Faculty Senate appointee, and a representative from the Curriculum Policies Committee will comprise the Program Review Oversight Committee.

Charge

2. The Oversight Committee will meet at the beginning of the semester for a general briefing of all Program Reviews for that semester and again at the end of the semester to hear review report summaries of all programs and to give advisement to one another regarding the wording of recommendations and potential conditional approvals.

Full Approvals

3. Typically departments will receive the full six year approval. If the Review Team determines that a department has serious issues warranting immediate resolution, a conditional approval may be granted. Conditional approvals should only be given to address issues that significantly impair a department's ability to offer an effective academic program. A one-year conditional approval will be given in cases where the issues in question are deemed to be critically in need of resolution and can reasonably be addressed in a short period. In all other cases, a three-year conditional approval will be given.

Conditional Approvals

4. Typically departments will receive the full six year approval. If the Review Team determines that a department has serious issues warranting immediate resolution, a conditional approval may be granted. Conditional approvals should only be given to address issues that significantly impair a department's ability to offer an effective academic program. A one-year conditional approval will be given in cases where the issues in question are deemed to be critically in need of resolution and can reasonably be addressed in a short period. In all other cases, a three-year conditional approval will be given.

5. If a Program Review Team is to recommend a conditional approval, the Program Review Team chair must present the basis for the recommendation to the Oversight Committee. The Oversight Committee, excluding the chair of the review in question, will vote on whether to approve the recommendation for conditional approval or to, instead, grant full approval. A simple majority vote is required.

6. In the case of conditional approval, all conditions must be specific and clearly stated. Each must state exactly the conditions to be met, when the conditions must be met, and the consequences if the conditions are not met. The Department in conjunction with the Dean of the College must develop and submit a plan and a timeline for meeting the conditions within four weeks of notification by the Oversight Committee. The Program Review Oversight Committee must approve the plan and the timeline. At the conclusion of the agreed upon timeline, the department will submit a report to the Oversight Committee for review.

7. The Program Review Oversight Committee will be responsible for reviewing any pending program reviews that have been given conditional approval in previous reviews. If the Oversight Committee accepts the Department’s report, the program approval will be extended to the remaining years in the department’s six year cycle. If the Oversight Committee concludes that the submitted report does not meet the specified conditions, the Committee will submit a statement of their conclusions to the Faculty Senate Executive Committee and Academic Affairs for further action.

8. If the program Review Team and the program under review have no substantive disagreements regarding the report, then the Chair of the Program Review Oversight Committee may declare a review complete and send it to Academic Affairs, the President and the Senate without panel evaluation of the draft review.

9. If deemed necessary by the Chair of the department being reviewed, a Panel of three members is appointed by the Program Review Oversight Committee to evaluate the draft review. The Panel consults with the reviewed unit, the dean of the unit's College, the Program Review Team and other parties as the Panel considers appropriate. The Panel may take reasoned exception to the draft review narrative, and has full authority to delete, modify or add recommendations to the draft review recommendations.

10. Panels have authority to (1) accept either a program Review Team recommendation or a recommendation (or deletion) proposed by the department, or (2) devise alternative recommendations specifically related to the issue in dispute.

11. The Panel shall first submit its report to the Program Review Team so that the Team has an opportunity to make any editorial changes and correct any errors of fact suggested by the panel, and accept any substantive changes in recommendations made by the panel.

12. Academic Affairs will forward a copy of the final report, along with a copy of the Panel's findings to the department for its files, to the Faculty Senate for its recommendations to the President for final action, and to appropriate administrators.

G. Program Review Self Study Guidelines

I. Program Introduction/History

  1. Describe your program's mission and goals (undergraduate, graduate, general education). In what way do program goals respond to community and regional needs?
  2. Assess the effectiveness of any changes (Department, College and University) made in response to recommendations from the last program review. (Include the list of recommendations in an appendix of the report).
  3. What major state and national trends (new developments in theory, research, and pedagogy) are occurring in your discipline? How does your curriculum structure and course offerings compare to those of similar programs in your discipline? What responses to changes in the discipline is your department planning and/or implementing?


II. Academic Programs

  1. Describe learning expectations for your academic programs (undergraduate and graduate, Centers and Institutes)
    1. Specify expectations for:
      1. the discipline
      2. writing and reading in the major including:
        1. descriptions of current writing and reading requirements
        2. standards for general expository and discipline-specific writing and reading
        3. any plans for the development of writing and reading skills
        4. plans for the assessment of current requirements and of measures to encourage writing and reading skills
      3. computer/information competence.
    2. Indicate on what these expectations are based (judgment of faculty, standards/trends in discipline, expectations of programs at other schools, surveys of students/alumni, etc.)
    3. Indicate how expectations are communicated to students
  2. How is your curriculum structured (including core requirements, prerequisites, and electives) to achieve your learning expectations? If your curriculum requires that majors take more than 120 units for their degree, provide a justification for the extra units.

Include a matrix that displays learning expectations and how courses contribute to achieving the expectations.

  1. What teaching strategies has your faculty found to be particularly effective in helping students achieve your learning expectations, e.g. service learning, field work, application assignments, etc.? (Include copies of course syllabi in an appendix.)
  2. Describe your department's involvement in (if any) and evaluation of distance and distributed education courses.
  3. Describe your program's assessment plan. Include both assessment of student learning outcomes and surveys of graduating seniors, and graduate students and alumni.
  4. Using assessment data, analyze the effectiveness of your program including the ability of students to meet:
    1. The department's learning expectations
    2. The University learning goals
    3. Writing and reading standards in the major
    4. Computer/information competence standards
  5. Describe how your department maintains consistency in multiple sections of courses.
  6. Discuss changes needed to enhance or improve the effectiveness of your academic program outcomes.
  7. If your department and its programs offer General Education and/or Service courses:
    1. Provide evidence that courses are meeting the General Education area criteria.
    2. From the perspective of the department/programs being served, to what extent do your service courses meet their needs?
    3. Describe how your department maintains consistency in multiple sections of General Education courses.
  8. Explain how your department/program:
    1. addresses the increasing cultural diversity of CSUS students in the curriculum, as appropriate;
    2. accommodates differences in student preparation and access to educational opportunities; and
    3. Helps students gain an effective knowledge of how to live and work in our diverse society.
  9. If your department offers a minor, a concentration or a certificate program, provide evidence of its contribution to the mission of the department, college and university, and its viability with respect to enrollment patterns since the last program review and to the resources expended to support the program.


III. Students

  1. Student Profile

    Data for the last six years is available on the Office of Institutional Research web site for the items below (http://www.oir.csus.edu/). Analyze the data, including a comparison of your majors to majors in your College and the University. If the data indicates a need for a response by your department, describe your plan of action.
    1. Enrollment patterns in the majors, minors, concentrations, credentials
    2. Gender and ethnic composition
    3. Retention and graduation rates
    4. Part and full-time enrollments
    5. "Native" and transfer students
  2. Student Academic Performance

    Data is available on the Office of Institutional Research web site (http://www.oir.csus.edu/). Compare the data for your program with that of other programs in your College and the University. If the data reveal issues that merit your attention, describe the issues and plans for action.
    1. Grading distribution
    2. GPA's
    3. Students on probation
    4. WPE pass rates
    5. Preparation for upper division/graduate coursework (no comparison data available under this heading)


  3. Student Academic Support
    1. Describe how the department provides academic and career advising. Are faculty and students satisfied that the advising needs of students are met? (Data from SNAPS and Program Assessment Questionnaire is available on the Office of Institutional Research web site at http://www.oir.csus.edu/). If data indicates a need for response describe your action plans.
    2. What support does your department provide for students in need of extra assistance? To what extent are your faculty and students satisfied with the support available at the department level: At the University level? If your analysis reveals a need for changes, describe plans.
  4. Student Professional Development

    What opportunities does your department provide to socialize students into the discipline or provide them with professional opportunities?

IV. Faculty

  1. Faculty Profile

    Data on faculty are available on the WEB (http://www.oir.csus.edu/). Analyze these data, including a comparison of your faculty profile to the faculty profiles in your College and the University. If the data indicate a need for a response by your department, describe your plan of action. Include analysis regarding:
    1. Full and part-time faculty
    2. Gender and ethnic composition
    3. Student-faculty ratio, class size
  2. Assess faculty profile for the ability to offer the curriculum and to support program goals. Describe plans for addressing any identified issues.
  3. Faculty as teachers:
    1. Analyze data available from the College Outcomes Survey (COS) and Program Assessment Questionnaire (PAQ) [Available from the Office of Institutional Research] to identify any issues that need action. Describe plans for addressing issues.
    2. Describe how the faculty are involved in professional development activities to improve and enhance their teaching effectiveness.
    3. To what extent are faculty using "best practices" in their roles as teachers? How are faculty offering students a variety of learning experiences to address the diversity of student learning styles? (see COS data)
    4. Comment on your faculty's' innovations in pedagogy and their knowledge of current trends in their academic specialties.
    5. Describe the department's process for evaluating teaching effectiveness (in the major and in general education offerings). How are data used to enhance or improve teaching?
  4. Faculty as Scholars
    1. Describe the department's specific expectations for scholarly, creative activities
    2. Describe scholarly and creative activities of faculty in the last six years (vita).
    3. Analyze the extent to which the faculty meet the department's expectations for scholarly/creative activities. Identify issues in need of improvement and describe action plans.
  5. Faculty Service to the University and Community
    1. Describe faculty involvement in service to the University and Community in the last six years.
    2. Analyze the extent to which the faculty meet the department's expectations for service. Identify issues in need of improvement and describe action plans.

V. Governance Process at the Program, College and University Levels

  1. Describe faculty involvement in planning, developing, and implementing department policies;
    1. Indicate the role of the chair/coordinator in department governance
    2. Indicate whether the department has a formalized set of rules or procedures for departmental governance (if so, please include such guidelines as an appendix to the self study).
  2. Describe student involvement in the departmental governance process
  3. Comment on the relationships of your department/programs with your College and the University

VI. Institutional Support/Resources

Please describe adequacy of support, strengths, and concerns about the following resources and services:

  1. Library
    1. Curriculum support offered by the collection
    2. Services provided by library for faculty and students
  2. Computer/Technology
    1. Technology/resources for meeting program and faculty needs
    2. Services provided by media center and computer center for faculty and students
  3. Student Support Services (e.g. Admissions and Records, Advising Center, Learning Skills
    Center, Union, Multicultural Center, Educational Opportunities Program, Writing Center)
  4. Faculty Support Services (e.g., Center for Teaching and Learning, Computing, Communications, and Media)
  5. Physical Facilities and Equipment
  6. Financial Resources (faculty, staff, operating expenses)
    1. Enrollment and faculty numbers support of the curriculum
    2. Program staff
    3. Total operating expense budget (include statement about processes used for effective use of budget)

H. Assessment Plan Guidelines for Program Assessment

I. Mission, Goals and Objectives

The Plan should include the following:

  1. A program mission statement. This is required in Section I of the Self Study and need not be repeated here.
  2. A description of the program in content-centered terms. These statements should describe the knowledge and skills the program aims to convey.
  3. A statement of intended student-centered objectives at the program level in measurable or observable terms. The program learning objectives should be general goals. The learning outcomes should be more specific and measurable. Student-centered objectives describe intended student learning in terms of what students will be able to do and/or what changes in knowledge, attitudes or behavior will occur as a result of the program.
  4. A link between the program level objectives to specific course level objectives in measurable or observable terms. These are lists, tables or other schema showing intended student learning outcomes within courses or sequences of courses as they relate to overall program student learning objectives.


II. Developing and Implementing

  1. Describe assessment methods for student-centered objectives at the program level. Each program must have at least two indirect measures and one direct measure of student learning. This section identifies and describes specific strategies and methods the faculty will use to determine whether students have achieved the program’s intended student learning outcomes (e.g. student portfolios, capstone course, exit exam, etc.)
  2. Present results of assessment activities as summaries of actual student learning outcomes data that have been collected by the unit. This section summarizes the results (using narrative, qualitative, quantitative, or mixed methods) from surveys, exams, or other direct measures of program or student learning outcomes.


III. Using Assessment Results

  1. Offer well-reasoned conclusions concerning what action should be taken given the results of II. B above. This section should present a logical analysis of the results (from II. B) as they relate to intended and unintended program outcomes.
  2. Describe how conclusions drawn from assessment data are or will be used in academic planning processes for the program. Describe how you will evaluate whether or not changes brought about through the assessment process have made a difference in student learning. This section describes how assessment activities have been used to inform curricular, instructional, and/or planning and implementation activities (e.g., program/course changes, faculty dev., advisement, or need for additional assessment data).
  3. As part of the self-study/program review process, each department will prepare a General Education Assessment Summary Report that will answer the following questions:
    1. What information have you gleaned from implementing your General Education assessment plan?
    2. Do you plan any changes to your General Education courses' curriculum as a result of your assessment?
    3. Will you make any changes in your General Education assessment plan for the next review cycle?

Self-Study Guidelines revised February 2002
Approved by Faculty Senate February 14, 2002
Academic Program Reviews revised November 20, 2003, by Faculty Senate
Assessment Plan Guidelines for Program Assessment revised Spring 2003; Spring 2004