Academic Policy  1620.10

Program and Department Review

Each academic degree program offered at the University, including the general education core curriculum, must be reviewed periodically, consistent with Board of Trustees policy 620.1, Arkansas code 6-61-214, and policy of the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. See Academic Policy 1620.11 for the current schedule of program reviews. Institutional and Division of Agriculture program reviews occur as part of the review of the academic department. Academic department reviews include all of the undergraduate and graduate programs, centers, offices and institutes housed in the department. A program is reviewed alone if it is housed in the school or college rather than a department. Each program is scheduled for review at least every seven years and/or consistent with accreditation policy. A program will be scheduled for a special review during the year following any year in which the three-year average number of program graduates falls below the state minimum requirement. Deans are asked to review their schedules, report errors, or request changes, and confirm the schedule in writing  to the Provost’s Office by January 15 of each year so that the schedule can be submitted to ADHE by their required deadline. Once a review is delayed for a year, however, the presumption will be that only unusual circumstances would support a second year’s delay. Proposal of a major program change (for example, addition of a concentration or a significant reorganization) may trigger a unit review unless one has been conducted within the immediately preceding three years. No department or program review may be delayed beyond the tenth year following the previous review. Unit review outcomes and evaluative data will be a factor in planning and resource allocation decisions.

Accredited programs will present the findings of their accrediting body, along with materials prepared for the visiting accreditation team, as a substitute for the institution program review process. If significant aspects of the institution review process are omitted from the accrediting body review and self-study, a review of these aspects will be scheduled on the basis of a supplement to the accreditation self-study report (to address a campus-only audience). All units will participate in the Responses to Review portion of the process. See Academic Policy 1620.11 for a list of accrediting bodies and dates for accreditation periods or campus visits. Normally, a department and all its units will undergo review the year an accreditation review is scheduled for one or more of the program(s) in the department, although a separate review of non-accredited programs may be preferable to the college and department. If a department has more than one accrediting body, the department and dean will choose the year for review.

Review Process

Program/department review should begin no later than August 1 for each program to be reviewed during the academic year. At the outset of the self-study process, programs/departments will be asked by the Director of Program Review and Assessment (Director) to identify five people not employed by the University of Arkansas (Fayetteville) who are well qualified to serve as outside reviewers and to submit data regarding their qualifications to the Director. Typically two outside reviewers will be selected per program/department.


Much of the documentation used in program review must be supplied by the academic department. In addition, the Office of Institutional Research will prepare a program evaluation summary report for each academic department for the year during which any program in the department is to be reviewed. Basic student data (demographic, graduation, and enrollment) and faculty data (demographic, classroom productivity, and comparative salary information) will be provided in this report. The dean’s office responsible for funding the program under review will provide expenditure data from department accounts distributed by expenditure category. The department will provide the other information identified in the Guidelines for Program/Department Review (Academic Policy 1620.12) . Copies of the most recent three annual reports of the department and the current departmental strategic plan should be appended to the self-study report.

The University Libraries will generate data on library support for degree and research programs housed in the department. Where available, program accreditation reports will be reviewed for scope and updated with the latest information. Most such reports include an assessment—provided by library subject specialists—of scope, content, and currency of monographic collections, and an assessment of journal and electronic resources which support the program, including rankings with the ISI-Thompson Journal Citation Report.  Budget information (current or linear), and staffing support is also generally included. Where time permits, program faculty and students may also be asked to provide an assessment. Where no accreditation report is available, a collection content and user assessment report will be structured to incorporate the above categories of information based on the Collection Policy Statement for the program, if one has been completed. Collection Policy Statements identify intended level of support (1-4) ranging from instruction to research support. Content reports would also include information regarding the most important resources and services supporting the program. Data components of these reports but not limited to will include collection size, available peer institution information, and expenditures for books, journals, and electronic resources.

Self-Study and Report

In consultation with the Director and the dean of the school or college, the program/department will conduct a self-evaluation and prepare a self-study report draft. The self-evaluation process should begin with analysis of institutional data provided to the department and identification of additional data that will need to be provided by the department. The report draft will be consistent with the Guidelines for Program/Department Review (Academic Policy 1620.12) and will include all required components. The dean of the school or college in which the department is housed will participate in the department evaluation, as will deans of the graduate school and the honors college, to the extent required to assure reasonable concurrence regarding conclusions. The Director will review the report draft for inclusion of all required elements. When the report draft has the approval of the school or college dean and concurrence from the deans of the graduate school and honors college, a minority report may be attached, if desired by graduate or honors dean or the majority of the program faculty. A college evaluation may be conducted, if desired by the dean. The report will normally be completed by January 31, and any attachments and appendices will be forwarded as a final report to the Director to provide a basis for institution and external review.

Campus and External Consultant Role in Review

The Director will meet with the Program Review Committee for the institution and will assign each member of the committee to a program/department review process and to a program review subcommittee. The program review subcommittees will review the self-study reports.

The Director will schedule a two-day site visit to include the external reviewers chosen for each program/department, the program review subcommittee, members of the department, selected students, deans, and outside constituencies as appropriate. Following the site visit, each member of the program review subcommittee will submit brief evaluative statements regarding the program/department to the Director, consistent with institutional guidelines.

The Director will compile a draft review report for distribution to sub-committee members and external reviewers, will collect feed-back, and will prepare a final report. The Director will forward the final report to the program faculty, the dean, and the provost for appropriate action. The Director will also forward a copy of the final report to the University Faculty Committee on Program Review for their information. The site visits will normally be completed by April 15 with the final review report being completed by August 15.

Responses to Review

Following submission of the review report to the department/program, deans, and provost, a Strategies for Progress/Maintenance statement will be drafted by the department/program as a summary statement in response to the findings of the campus program review process. In consultation with the dean of the school or college, the program/department will state strategies and desired outcomes to address areas of concern and focus. When the dean of the school or college has reviewed, approved, and signed the Strategies for Progress/Maintenance statement, it will be forwarded to the Director for Program Review and Assessment (Director) on or before December 15. The Director will then forward the response to the provost who will review and acknowledge receipt of the document. Copies will be returned to the program/department, dean of the school or college and Director. If facility maintenance or safety issues are identified, results of the Review will be provided to the Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration by the Provost or Dean. During the next school or college and department annual review process, action taken as a result of the strategies statement will be assessed by the program/department chair, the dean, and the Director, and the chair/ dean will include a summary of the actions taken in the Annual Report to the Provost (due August 15 each year). If further action is deemed appropriate by the chair, dean or Director, a dated notation should be appended to the original strategy statement and copies provided to all participants. Further actions may be taken, through regular campus channels, depending upon the outcome of the program review, ranging from program revision or reorganization along various dimensions to program expansion or program deletion. Until identified issues are addressed, a progress report will be included each year in the Annual Report.

The program review process will be examined each year to identify needed changes.

Reformatted for Web October 1, 2014