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Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
Rev June 2015



Purpose
 
McNeese State University seeks to maintain high quality academic programs and adhere to the Principles of Accreditation of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Comprehensive Standard 2.5 of the SACSCOC Principles requires that an institution engage in ongoing and institution-wide planning and evaluation to demonstrate continuous improvement in institutional quality. Core Requirement 3.3.1.1 of the SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation requires that all academic programs identify expected outcomes, assess the extent to which they achieve those outcomes, and provide evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results of those outcomes. Federal Requirement 4.1 of the SACSCOC Principles describes the governmental mandate that an institution demonstrate student achievement.
 
Each academic program should have a Program Coordinator who is academically qualified in their field. Program Coordinators for all academic programs (degree and certificate programs) must annually complete Academic Program Master Plan Progress Reports that describe the ongoing planning and evaluation of program objectives and student learning outcomes. Program Coordinators are responsible for ensuring that academic programs contain essential curricular components, have appropriate content and pedagogy, and maintain currency.
 
Professionally accredited academic programs at McNeese periodically undergo an Academic Program Review, which includes a thorough self-evaluation and an external review process as required by accrediting agencies. Programs that are not professionally accredited may undergo an Academic Program Review at the request of the Program Coordinator, the Dean of the College that oversees the program, the Provost, the President of McNeese, or McNeese’s management or governing boards. However, besides the annual completion of the Academic Program Master Plan Progress Reports, these programs are not part of a regularly scheduled Academic Program Review process.

The purpose of an Academic Program Review is to take a comprehensive look at an academic program from the perspectives 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 Academic Program Review should reflect the past and anticipate the future.
 
The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, in collaboration with the Office of Academic and Student Affairs, develops program review documents for internal purposes and coordinates any requested institutional or program-level reviews. For an accredited program, the program faculty, department head(s), and Dean of the College overseeing the program are primarily responsible for ensuring compliance with the professional program’s accreditation standards and reporting requirements.
 
Accreditation Review Council

The Academic subgroup of the Accreditation Review Council (ARC) periodically 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 that academic programs document expectations for student learning objectives, assess achievement of the objectives, and identify improvements based on analysis of program assessment information.

The Academic sub-group of the ARC will serve as the internal evaluator for any Academic Program Reviews that may be requested as noted above and will provide guidance to support continuous improvement. The group will determine that the academic program has completed the portfolio and has fulfilled all of the requirements of the Academic Program Review. The group will return any inadequate portfolios to the Program Coordinator with instructions for completion within ninety days.