Program Review Policy

Policy Number: I.21
Policy Level: Operating Policy

Originally Issued: October 12, 2016
Reviewed:  June 11, 2020

Policy Owner: Provost/ VP Academic Affairs
Policy Implementation: College Deans
SACSCOC Standard:  6.1 and 6.2b
SACSCOC Standard:  7.1 and 8.2a
SACSCOC Standard:  9.1 and 10.4

I.     Policy Statement and Purpose

This policy establishes Athens State University’s commitment to conduct a comprehensive review of all academic programs (undergraduate and graduate) every five years.  Programs with national/professional accreditation may substitute these for the mandatory review.  However, the Provost may require partial program reviews for such programs.

The University’s primary goal for program review is to systematically evaluate every element of academic programs, comprising curriculum, student achievement, resources, the competitive environment, and stakeholder perceptions of the program in order to identify strengths and weaknesses and propose changes and improvement as deemed necessary.  At the end of the review process, departments will be better prepared to make informed decisions regarding the optimization of resources to increase efficiency while maintaining and/or improving the highest level of quality in all academic programs.

For the purpose of this policy, the University defines a program as a prescribed plan of study, within an academic department, characterized by a set of structured and coherent courses within a recognized field of study under a designated Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code.

II.   Depth and Scope of Program Review

The Academic Program Review will be comprehensive and focused on the overall effectiveness of the program and department in supporting the University’s mission as it relates to:

  • the quality of the learning and teaching environment in both undergraduate and graduate programs;
  • adequacy and effective utilization of resources by the academic program; and
  • the program’s service to the university and its external constituencies.

Review criteria will include: 1) cost-benefit criteria; 2) program input and outputs, and 3) organizational effectiveness.

III. Program Review Process

Program reviews are to be performed internally by the dean, department head, and faculty members.  The program review cycle begins in August and ends in May.  Following the schedule timeline for program review, the responsible Dean will appoint a panel of reviewers for each program scheduled for review.  The panel of reviewers will be members of the program faculty and should include at least one evaluator from outside the University from the program area who is qualified to evaluate the relative strengths and weaknesses of the program.

The review process integrates internal evaluation needs, including program development and strategic planning consistent with accrediting and regulatory bodies.  The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) will provide institutional data for each program in support of the review process.

The provisions, requirements, documentation, and schedule for review of all academic programs (undergraduate and graduate) are contained in the Academic Program Review Procedures and Guidelines accompanying document.

Completed program review reports will be maintained in the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs Office.

IV. Responsibility for this Operating Policy

Policy Owner
As part of the initial approval of this policy by the President and subsequent to the original dissemination of the policy, the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs is the policy owner for the ongoing evaluation, review, and approval of this policy.  Subsequent reviews and revisions to this policy must be in accordance with approved operating policy procedures and processes.

This policy will be reviewed every three years or more frequently as needed by the Policy Owner.  Revisions will be reviewed/affirmed by the Dean’s Council, Faculty Senate and the Cabinet and approved by the University President.  This policy will be updated/published in the University’s Policy Library.

Responsibility for Policy Implementation
The President has assigned the responsibility of implementing this policy to the College Deans, under the direction of the Provost/Vice President for Academic Affairs.