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Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Rev Jan 2014

Purpose

McNeese State University seeks to maintain the highest academic program quality and ensure each program meets stated objectives and student learning outcomes. Academic Program Review is conducted to ensure that academic excellence and appropriate student achievement and success is maintained for each program offered. Programs accredited by professional accrediting agencies undergo thorough self-evaluation and external review periodically as required by the respective accrediting agency. Programs that are not professionally accredited or for which there is no professional accrediting agency conduct periodic self-evaluation and review according to MSU policy.

The purpose of academic program review is to take a comprehensive look at an academic program from the perspective of self-assessment, viability, needs, student learning outcomes, and adequacy of resources (funding, personnel, facilities, etc.). The process is intended to identify opportunities, understand weaknesses, and set a path for future improvements. The culmination of the review should produce a portfolio that is evaluative rather than merely descriptive. The APR should reflect the past and anticipate the future.

Accreditation Review Council

An academic subgroup of the Accreditation Review Council evaluates program and unit Master Plans to ensure that fulfillment of the University's mission is ongoing and appropriate student learning outcomes are being achieved, documented, and reported. The annual Master Plan process ensures academic programs document expectations for student learning objectives, achievement of the objectives, and identifies improvements as a result of analyses of program assessment information. A more detailed and comprehensive program self-evaluation and review is conducted periodically (approximately every seven years) according to the timeline established by the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness in collaboration with the Academic Advisory Council.

The Academic sub-group of the ARC will serve as the internal evaluator for the APR and will provide guidance to support continual improvement. The group will determine that the Academic Program has completed the APR portfolio and has fulfilled all of the requirements of the APR. The group will return any inadequate portfolios to the Program Coordinator with instructions for completion within ninety days.

Candidates for Program Review

  1. For professionally accredited programs, the program review conducted during accreditation or reaffirmation processes serves as an appropriate academic program review.
  2. Non-accredited undergraduate and graduate programs for which an accrediting agency exists may use respective program accreditation criteria outlined by the accrediting agency for the self-evaluation format.
  3. Non-accredited undergraduate programs for which no accrediting agency exists use the MSU academic program self-evaluation format. A program review requires faculty to develop a formal document (not to exceed 75 pages). Guidelines for the document are indicated in the academic program self evaluation procedure.
  4. Non-accredited graduate programs for which no accrediting agency exists use the MSU Graduate Program Standards.


In some circumstances, a review of the program by a person or persons external to the University may be requested of the program by the VPASA upon the recommendation of the ARC reviewing team. Alternatively, program faculty may request an external reviewer upon conclusion of the ARC review. External reviewers may come from sister institutions and ought to be experts in the discipline. Undergraduate and graduate academic program coordinators are responsible for program development as well as coordinating the program review and evaluation and identifying appropriate external reviewers. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness will make arrangements for the external review should one be required.