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Academic Program Review Policy

Authority: Academic Affairs and Enrollment Management
Date Enacted or Revised: Enacted April 14, 2021

Purpose

McNeese State University conducts periodic reviews of all academic programs for quality and effectiveness. The academic program review process directs academic departments to conduct self-studies that examine a program’s faculty, curriculum, student success, and resources. The review culminates in an action plan to be integrated into annual assessment reports.

This policy complies with the following SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation:  Standard 6.2.a (faculty qualifications), Standard 6.2.b (program faculty), Standard 6.2.c (program coordination), Core Requirement 7.1 (institutional planning), Standard 8.2 (student outcomes), Core Requirement 9.1 (program content), Standard 10.4 (academic governance), Core Requirement 11.1 (library and learning/information resources), and Standard 13.7 (physical resources).

Procedures

The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness (IRE) coordinates the academic program review process and maintains a rotating schedule for academic programs to be reviewed. Each academic program that does not have programmatic accreditation must conduct a self-study every seven years. Academic programs that conduct self-studies for programmatic accreditation are exempt from this process. Elements of the process include

  • Self-study – Completed by the department and examines faculty, curriculum, assessment, student success measures, resources, and capabilities of the academic program.
  • External review – IRE works with the academic department to secure an external reviewer who is a recognized expert in the field. This person evaluates the self-study and offers perspectives on the program’s quality and efficacy. The academic department must submit five names of proposed external reviewers in rank order, approved by the dean, from peer or similar institutions. The department should also provide contact information and a brief rationale stating the significance of each reviewer’s potential contribution to the review process. IRE is responsible for contacting the reviewer and arranging the off-site review of the self-study.
  • Internal review – Three tenured faculty who are not in the same department undergoing academic program review evaluate the self-study and external review and offer perspectives on the program’s quality and efficacy. The panel consists of:  (1) a panel chair, who is a senior, experienced faculty member with experience in accreditation and program review; (2) a faculty member from the same college as the department; (3) a faculty member from a different college than the department.
  • Action plan – Academic departments conclude the process by creating an action plan comprised of recommendations from the internal and external reviews, proposed actions by the academic department with input from faculty, and a timeline for implementation. Elements of the action plan will be integrated into the department and program assessment plans and updated by the department annually.

Annual Timeline

JulyIRE will contact deans and department heads in mid-July regarding academic programs to undergo review during the upcoming academic year.
NovemberSelf-study due to IRE on the Friday before Thanksgiving.
JanuaryExternal review due to IRE on Monday of the last full week in January.
MarchInternal review due to IRE on Monday of the last full week of March.
JuneAction plan and timeline due to IRE on Friday of the last full week of June. Action plan and timeline must be constructed with input from faculty and approved by the dean, IRE, and the provost. The final, approved action plan and timeline must then be communicated to departmental faculty and staff.

All materials for academic program review are available on the IRE website, including templates for the self-study, external review, internal review, action plan, and timeline.

Communication

This policy is distributed via the Academic Advisory Council and the University Policies webpage. IRE will contact departments as needed to initiate the academic program review.