Program Review

Cycle

Florida Statutes require that all academic programs in State universities undergo review on a cyclical basis. Each degree program listed on the SUS Academic Degree Programs Inventory must be reviewed during the 7-year cycle.

 Purpose

Promote and maintaining high-quality academic programs that are delivered and administered efficiently and effectively and are consistent with the USF system’s mission and with Board of Governors’ strategic priorities. Systematic review and improvement of academic programs with an emphasis on student learning outcomes is an integral part of institutional effectiveness.

 Process

Elements of the program review:

Program Self-Study

I. MISSION AND PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

A. Mission/Purpose of Program

Briefly describe the mission and purpose of each program in the context of the institutional mission and the Board of Governors’ Strategic Plan.

B. Program Components/Courses/Requirements

Briefly describe each degree program, including areas of strengths and concern and any special characteristics of the program, its students, or its graduates.

C. Goals and Objectives (Teaching, Research, Service)

1. Expected Outputs and Outcomes. With reference to Department Profiles or other data sources, provide a brief analysis and assessment of the contribution of the unit and its programs to the institutional mission. Describe short-term and long-term plans, aspirations, and goals for the future.

2. (Baccalaureate programs only) Expected Core Learning Outcomes. Identify expected student learning outcomes in the areas of content knowledge and skills, communication skills, and critical thinking skills, and the measures used to assess them, as included in the program’s Academic Learning Compact.

3. Resources and support services. Describe unit and program goals and objectives with respect to improvement and enhancement of:
Faculty and staff
Library resources
Facilities and equipment
Resource needs for specific improvements

4. New Degree Programs (if applicable). If the academic unit plans to develop a new degree program in the same or similar discipline as the program(s) being reviewed, a description of the proposed program and a timeline for implementation should be included in the self-study. If a new program proposal is in preparation, the draft proposal should be included as an appendix to the self-study.

II. DATA COLLECTION

A. Actual Outputs and Outcomes (Teaching, Research, Service)

1. Department Profile. Provide a summary and analysis of unit and program productivity using recent (no more than 5 years) data. Describe how program goals and objectives have been achieved in the context of the mission.

2. Contributions to undergraduate General Education program, including Exit Requirements.

3. Student Learning Outcomes. Provide a summary and analysis of the recent (no more than 5 years) Outcomes Assessment Plans for each program including use of results for program improvement. For baccalaureate programs only, address how well students are meeting the Expected Core Learning Outcomes as defined in the program’s Academic Learning Compact.

4. Program Curriculum. Describe how curriculum is designed, reviewed, and improved to meet program goals and achieve identified student learning outcomes. Provide evidence that all courses have been reviewed within the past 5 years to ensure that syllabi in use are current, curriculum is relevant, courses are properly sequenced, prerequisites/co-requisites are appropriate, etc.

5. For baccalaureate programs only, examine approved common prerequisites to ensure that they provide appropriate preparation for success in the specific degree program, and that the selected courses continue to be relevant to the discipline in general. Any recommended changes in prerequisites should be brought to the attention of the Articulation Coordinating Committee (Oversight Committee). For those baccalaureate programs that have been approved as Limited Access, examine the ongoing need for Limited Access status and identify what resources would be needed to eliminated Limited Access (if possible).

B. Resources and Support Services

1. Provide information about the program faculty and their contributions to instruction, research, and service. Include information on teaching loads, research productivity, and service activities. Include a curriculum vitae for each member of the faculty, including visitors and adjuncts.

2. Describe institutes, centers and other special programs/projects that contribute to program quality.

3. Describe facilities, staff, and budget. Include information on graduate assistantships, external funding, and other unit/program resources.

4. Assess sufficiency of resources and support services to achieve the program goals and objectives and, for baccalaureate programs only, the program’s Expected Core Learning Outcomes as identified in the program’s Academic Learning Compact.

III. STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS (SWOT)

Identify factors that have enabled the program to move toward its goals, objectives, and expected outcomes, and factors that have hindered the program in its ability to achieve its goals, objectives, and expected outcomes. Note whether issues and opportunities are university-specific, state-specific, or discipline-specific.

Discuss positive and negative relationships among undergraduate and graduate programs within the unit.

IV. CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT

A. Recommendations for program improvement in instruction, research, and service

Include recommendations that will create additional opportunities for and/or remove barriers to accomplishment of goals, objectives, and expected outcomes.

B. Follow-up to recommendations from previous program reviews and/or accreditation reviews

List recommendations and provide a brief synopsis of actions taken in response.

Dean’s Report

Should include, but not necessarily be limited to, discussion of the following aspects of the program(s) under review:

  • Internal and external demand/need
  • Competitive/strategic advantage
  • Quality of students
  • Faculty productivity
  • Bearing on institutional mission, strengths and distinctiveness

Outside Reviewers

When a program review involves outside reviewers, it is important to identify and engage these individuals as early in the year as possible.  Outside reviewer’s reports are due in to the Office of the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in early March, so site visits may be conducted in late Fall or early Spring semester.

The decision regarding whether an outside reviewer will be asked to conduct a site visit or simply react to written documentation (a paper review) will be made by the

Dean and the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designees in consultation with the department chair/program director.

The department chair/program director, in consultation with the Dean, will provide the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office with 3-5 nominations for the outside reviewer(s).

Nominees should meet the following criteria:

A.  Required:

  • Holds (or has held) the rank of Associate Professor or higher
  • Is (or has been) affiliated with an institution outside State of Florida that offers programs similar to the one(s) being reviewed.
  • Has administrative experience
  • Has a respected record of scholarly activity in the discipline
  • Is currently active in the discipline
  • Has no conflict of interest with the University or with the unit(s) housing the program(s) being reviewed

B.  Preferred:

  • Has experience in a publicly supported university or college
  • Has experience evaluating programs (e.g. as accreditation or program review team member)
  • Has a national reputation in the discipline
  • Is (or has been) affiliated with a Carnegie Research I institution
  • Is (or has been) affiliated with an institution that the program being reviewed or its home unit regards as an aspirational peer

Departments and colleges may add criteria or change preferred criteria to required criteria as appropriate.

External reviewers will be selected and retained by the Office of the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs in consultation with the department chair/program director and dean from a list of nominees developed by the unit under review. Guidelines for the selection of external consultants are found here.

For programs with specialized accreditation, institutional program review will be scheduled to coincide with professional accreditation reviews.

 Self-Study Guidelines

The format for the self-study can be found here. Although the report should be comprehensive and substantive, in most cases it will not exceed 25 pages. Tables, charts, and other relevant documents such as strategic plans and outcomes assessment plans should be placed in appendices. All documentation will be developed and submitted in electronic format.

If the academic unit plans to develop a new degree program in the same or similar discipline as the program(s) being reviewed, a description of the proposed program and a timeline for implementation should be included in the self-study. If an implementation proposal is in preparation, a draft proposal should be included as an appendix to the self-study.

For programs being reviewed in conjunction with professional accreditation, the elements of any University addendum to be prepared in addition to those required by the accrediting association will be agreed upon by the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office, the department chair/program director, and the dean.

The Dean’s Report will include, but not necessarily limited to, a discussion of the following aspects of the program(s) under review:

  • Internal and external demand/need
  • Competitive/strategic advantage
  • Quality of students
  • Faculty productivity
  • Bearing on institutional mission, strengths and distinctiveness

Program Review Outcomes

The results of academic program review will be used to plan for continuous program improvement as well as to inform strategic planning, program development, and budgeting decisions at the institutional level. Specific outcomes may include:

  • Resource decisions (e.g. enhance, reduce, maintain, eliminate, or review further)
  • An action plan to implement recommended changes on a specific, agreed-upon schedule

Timeline

USF St. Petersburg’s Academic Program Review Plan is developed for graduate programs and disseminated every seven years and is posted on the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office web page.

In the spring semester of the academic year preceding its program review year, an academic unit will be reminded of its scheduled review. The Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office will conduct an orientation meeting with representatives of the academic units and their colleges. The purpose of this meeting is to describe the rationale, timeline, and process for review; possible utilization of outcomes; and the relationship of program review to professional accreditation, strategic planning, assessment of student learning outcomes and other institutional and state-level processes. The unit, in consultation with the college dean, a representative of the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and the Associate Vice Chancellor for Research/Dean of Graduate Studies as appropriate, will identify questions and issues to be addressed by the review. The college dean will also provide to the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office the names of three to five potential external reviewers. A sample review schedule for academic program review can be found here. Timelines for USF St. Petersburg programs can be found here.

The Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office will prepare and submit to the Division of Colleges and Universities a Conceptual Framework for the program review.

For programs being reviewed in conjunction with professional accreditation, a University addendum to the accreditation self-study may be required to address questions and issues of specific interest tot he University and to the Board of Governors.

The Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office, through the Office of Institutional Effectiveness, will assist the unit in obtaining all relevant institutionally generated data, including a library report, needed for the self-study.

For programs not undergoing professional accreditation review, self-study reports (including the Dean’s Report) are due in the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs’ Office by the first weekday of November. Site visits by outside reviewers will be scheduled in late fall or early spring. The outside reviewer’s report will be provided to the Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs no later than the first Monday in April.

For programs being reviewed in conjunction with professional accreditation, the schedule for preparation and submission of University addenda (if required) will be coordinated with the schedule for preparation and submission of the accreditation self-study and the visiting team report.

The Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs or designee will discuss the final report and recommendations with the department chair/program director and dean. Units may be asked to report annually on actions taken with respect to program review recommendations.