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POLICY #6.41
SUBJECT: Cyclical Academic Program Reviews and Reports


The purpose of this Policy is to describe policy and procedures for academic program review.




  1. Background. The Utah State Board of Higher Education has delegated responsibility for three-year and two-year follow-up reports and cyclical academic program review to the Southern Utah University Board of Trustees. Program reviews will be conducted under the direction of the Provost’s Office and submitted to the President and to the Board of Trustees, and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education. A systematic program report and cyclical review process is a significant dimension of the University’s assessment program.
  2. Purpose of Academic Program Reviews. The purpose of program review is to monitor and improve the quality of academic programs. In the context of this policy, programs are defined as the academic units that comprise a College or School. The review process provides information, analysis, and evaluation that will help the academic program and the University identify strengths, the fulfillment of program goals, objectives, and learning outcomes, suggested areas for improvement, and to make recommendations and offer commendations.
  3. Academic Program Review Committee (APRC):
    1. The APRC will oversee the process of academic program reviews and Three-Year or Two-Year Follow-Up Reports and members will include the faculty senate president, the associate provost, and senior faculty members (one [1] from each academic College/School and one [1] representative of at-large faculty) appointed by the Provost’s Office.
    2. The APRC will meet each academic year to update and revise the schedule for Three-Year and Two-Year Follow-Up Reports and Cyclical Institutional Program Reviews. The timetable for reviews shall be maintained by the Provost’s Office and will be reviewed by the APRC and the Deans’ Council annually. (See Supplements B, C.)
    3. The focus of the APRC will be to monitor and improve the quality of undergraduate and graduate degree programs. In addition, reviews should include an evaluation of the need for and cost-effectiveness of the program and its alignment to institutional academic plans and the SUU strategic plans.
    4. The APRC shall make recommendations to the Provost regarding the College/School and its academic programs, including human, physical, and financial resources.
  4. Three-Year, Two-Year Follow-Up Reports

    Three-Year and Two-Year Follow-Up Reports are mandated by the Board of Higher Education as per Policy R401. The Department Chair/Program Director prepares the report following the template in the R401 policy and uses enrollment and other relevant data from the Office of Institutional Research & Assessment. The report also includes an institutional analysis of the program to date and data regarding program graduates’ employment or placement in graduate school. The report is forwarded to the APRC for review and comment and returned to the department/program if changes are deemed necessary. The final report is forwarded to the Provost’s Office for submission to the SUU Board of Trustees for approval. The approved report is forwarded to the Board of Higher Education for further action as per R401.
  5. Cyclical Institutional Program Reviews of Colleges/Schools
    1. Per Policy R411, cyclical institutional program reviews:
      1. are faculty-driven with self-study involving faculty from the program being reviewed and with review being provided by peers from other programs;
      2. incorporate external review;
      3. occur on a regular cycle;
      4. are evaluative, not just descriptive;
      5. are forward-looking and focus on continuous improvement;
      6. are concise, balanced and honest; and
      7. result in an action plan that will be implemented by the faculty in the academic unit(s).
    2. Initial steps and notification:
      1. Each College/School of the University will be responsible for the completion of a self-study pursuant to the criteria in Supplement A;
      2. In the month of May preceding the review which starts in September, the APRC notifies the dean of the selected program in writing to begin the formal process of program review using available data and information, catalogs and syllabi, and other materials in the College/School;
      3. The Institutional Research & Assessment Office (IR&A) prepares activity reports and other data; and
      4. Under the leadership of the Dean, a faculty self-study committee will be established to:
        1. review the criteria in Supplement A;
        2. gather the evidence required for each criterion beyond that prepared by the Office of IR&A;
        3. analyze available data and information sources;
        4. prepare a draft of the self-study document; and
        5. prepare a response to the external review.
      5. A self-study prepared for a specialized accreditation may satisfy the requirements in Section IV.E.2.d. and Supplement A. If using a self-study from an accreditation process, it must be cross-referenced to the criteria set forth in Supplement A. Any SUU criteria not addressed in the accreditation self-study will need to be provided in the program review. Accreditation self-studies or interim report older than five (5) years cannot be used for cross-referencing with criteria set forth in Supplement A.
    3. External review:
      1. Every self-study will receive an external review for additional perspective. Programs whose degree programs are accredited or seeking specialized accreditation may substitute the evaluation of the accrediting team for the external review. If an external review is older than five (5) years, new external reviewers will be required as per Section IV.E.3.b. below;
      2. At least two (2) faculty members, one representing a USHE institution and a second representing a national perspective, will conduct the external review. Depending on the structure of the College/School, additional external reviewers may be requested by the Dean in consultation with the Provost’s Office. The Provost’s Office, in consultation with the Dean, will select the external reviewers. Each reviewer will receive a copy of the program’s self-study and supporting documents and will be expected to spend at least two (2) days on campus interviewing students, faculty, and administrators, and to prepare a report of findings and recommendations; and,
      3. copies of the reviewer’s report will be sent to the program and to the APRC.
  6. Program Dean Responsibility
    1. The College/School Dean will be responsible for coordinating and monitoring the internal and the external review process for all programs and centers in their College/School.
    2. The Dean will establish a faculty self-study committee as per Section IV.E.2.d.
    3. After analyzing all documents in the program review process, the Dean will provide comments on all recommendations and may add recommendations as needed. These comments will be sent to the APRC and incorporated in the final review document, which will then be sent to the Provost.
  7. Provost's Office Responsibility
    1. Direct and monitor the process, and receive from the APRC the review materials and recommendations.
    2. Using the information gathered for the Cyclical Institutional Program Reviews and the Three-year and Two-year Follow-Up Reports, the Provost’s Office creates summary reports as required for the State Board of Higher Education Policies R401 and R411 (see Supplements B and C). The reports are forwarded, along with the Provost’s recommendation, to the President, the Board of Trustees, and the Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education (OCHE).
    3. The Provost’s Office will maintain the schedule of program reviews on its website.


The responsible office for this Policy is the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.


Date Approved: June 13, 2003

Amended: January 13, 2012; December 4, 2013