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Handbook of Operating Procedures
Chapter 2 - Faculty and Academics
Publication Date: April 27, 2011
Responsible Executive: VP for Academic Affairs

2.39 Academic Program Review


POLICY STATEMENT


The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) provides quality programs to students in each of its academic disciplines. Quality programs result from careful, collaborative self-study and reflection by the faculty in each of the disciplines and appropriate stewardship by university administrators.


RATIONALE


This policy establishes procedures for review of academic programs at UTSA.


SCOPE


This policy applies to all academic programs and the academic administrators and faculty assigned to those programs.


WEBSITE ADDRESS FOR THIS POLICY


http://www.utsa.edu/hop/chapter2/2-39.html


RELATED STATUTES, POLICIES, REQUIREMENTS OR STANDARDS


SACS Commission on Colleges “Principle of Accreditation: Foundations for Quality Enhancement” (Comprehensive Standard 3.3.1.1: Institutional Effectiveness – Educational Programs)

Provost’s Web Site, Vice Provost for Accountability and Institutional Effectiveness, Academic Program Review


CONTACTS


If you have any questions about HOP policy 2.39, Academic Program Review, contact the following office:

Vice Provost for Accountability and Institutional Effectiveness
210-458-4706


DEFINITIONS


Academic Program
For the purposes of this policy, an academic program is defined by the combined undergraduate and graduate educational programs of a discipline and the associated scholarly and service activities of its academic unit(s).


RESPONSIBILITIES


Dean

  • In consultation with the Provost and Vice Provost for the Graduate School, finalizes the list of external reviewers and alternates
  • Reviews the department’s response to the review team recommendations and prepares a written recommendation for the Provost

Department

  • Proposes a list of suitable reviewers to the college Dean at least six (6) months in advance of a scheduled review
  • Prepares a set of materials to aid external reviewers in their task of reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities of the unit
  • Prepares a written response to the review team recommendations and submits that response to the college Dean

Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

  • Maintains a set of guidelines specifying the process by which external reviews take place. These guidelines are available on the Provost's web site.

Vice Provost for Accountability and Institutional Effectiveness

  • Maintains a general schedule of program reviews
  • Notifies Dean, Department Chair, and other appropriate individuals (e.g., Program Director) no less than eight (8) months in advance of an upcoming review

PROCEDURES


General Requirements for Academic Program Review

  1. All department programs shall undergo periodic academic program review.
  2. Reviews shall be conducted by a panel of external reviewers representing expertise in the academic discipline of the programs under scrutiny.
  3. The frequency of program review shall not be more than ten (10) years between successive reviews.
  4. Units subject to periodic specialized accreditation reviews may use those reviews to satisfy this requirement.
  5. Reviews shall be based on organizational units (for example, departments) and shall integrate reviews of all degree programs offered through those units. Exceptions include:
    1. interdisciplinary programs involving multiple departments, and
    2. instances where specialized accreditation only reviews the undergraduate or graduate programs (e.g. ABET only reviews undergraduate programs). In this event, the Department or College shall separately schedule a complementary review for programs not covered by specialized accreditation.
  6. The Vice Provost for Accountability and Institutional Effectiveness shall maintain a general schedule of program reviews and will notify the Dean, Department Chair and other appropriate individuals (e.g. Program Director) no less than eight (8) months in advance of an upcoming review.
  7. The Provost's Office shall maintain a set of guidelines specifying the process by which external reviews take place. Said guidelines will be made publicly available on the Provost’s web site.

Review Process and Timeline

A Department shall be notified at least eight (8) months in advance that a program review has been scheduled. Upon notification, the program shall implement the following process.

  1. The review team and its chair shall be established six (6) months in advance of the review.
  2. The Office of the Vice Provost for Accountability and Institutional Effectiveness (hereafter, the “Vice Provost AIE”) shall oversee the arrangements for the review visit.
  3. The Department shall assemble its self-study materials (see “Self-Study Document” below) for posting online at least one month in advance of the review team visit and shall notify the reviewers how to access the materials.
  4. Review visits shall typically extend over two (2) days and include the following meetings:
    1. an initial meeting on the first day attended by the Provost, Vice Provost AIE, Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies (hereafter, “Vice Provost US”), Dean, and Vice Provost for the Graduate School (hereafter, "Vice Provost GS") with the review team;
    2. meetings with the Department faculty;
    3. meetings with students of the Department, including both undergraduate and graduates students where appropriate;
    4. a meeting with the Dean, if needed;
    5. a meeting with the Vice Provost GS, Dean and Graduate Council representatives, when appropriate;
    6. other meetings as requested by the review team in advance;
    7. unscheduled time for the review team to formulate initial recommendations; and
    8. an exit interview with the Provost, Vice Provost AIE, Vice Provost US, Dean, and Vice Provost GS.
  5. The review team shall submit a written report of their review as soon as is feasible following the completion of the review visit.

Self-Study Document

Departments undergoing a program review shall prepare a set of materials to aid external reviewers in their task of reviewing the strengths, weaknesses, challenges, and opportunities of the unit.

  1. The preparation of materials for a program review should be an inclusive process, involving all faculty to the extent possible.
  2. The materials should include, but need not be limited to, the following:
    1. the unit's strategic plan
    2. documentation of expected learning outcomes for each of the department’s degree programs (described in the department assessment plans and course syllabi)
    3. documentation of assessment of student learning outcomes for each degree program
    4. a summary of research productivity, as comiled from FAIR
    5. curriculum vitae for all continuing faculty
    6. program enrollment information
    7. a brief summary statement (no more than ten pages)
  3. Specialized accreditation processes may require other materials in addition to those listed here.
  4. The Department's self-study materials shall be posted online for the external reviewers to access at least one (1) month in advance of the reviewers’ visit. Printed copies of the strategic plan and the summary statement shall be sent to each reviewer at the time the materials are posted.
  5. A hard copy of or electronic access to all of the materials shall be made available to the chair of the review team during their visit.

External Reviewers

The external reviewers should be senior faculty members at institutions equivalent to the university’s aspirant institutions. Whenever possible, the reviewers should be eminent scholars and academic leaders from outside the State of Texas who have achieved national prominence.

  1. Choice of reviewers
    1. A Department shall propose a list of suitable reviewers to the college Dean (hereafter, the “Dean”) at least six (6) months in advance of a scheduled review.
    2. The Dean shall select a subset of no more than three (3) reviewers from the list provided by the department.
    3. The Dean may also choose to add up to two (2) members not on the department list, but the total number of reviewers should not exceed five (5).
    4. The Dean should identify alternative reviewers in the event one (1) or more of the reviewers chosen is unable to commit to the review.
    5. The Dean shall consult with the Provost and the Vice Provost GS before finalizing the list of reviewers and alternates.
  2. Once the set of reviewers is finalized, the Dean and Department Chair shall consult to appoint a chair for the review team from among the reviewers.

Review Response

The report of the external reviewers, as well as the response of the Department, College, Graduate School, and university will be documented in writing.

  1. Following the submission of the written report, the Department shall prepare a written response to the review team recommendations and submit that response to the Dean.
  2. The Dean shall review the unit response and prepare a written recommendation for the Provost.
  3. If the review includes graduate programs, the Graduate Council shall receive a copy of the reviewers’ report, and may prepare a response to any recommendations involving graduate studies in the unit, and submit that response to the Vice Provost GS.
  4. The Vice Provost GS and Dean shall meet with the Provost to discuss the review and their respective recommendations.
  5. The Provost shall meet with the Department Chair, Department’s Graduate Advisor of Record (GAR), Dean, Vice Provost GS, and Vice Provost AIE to discuss the outcome of the review and formulate the final response. For those programs housed at the downtown campus, the Vice Provost for the Downtown Campus shall also participate in the discussion.
  6. The Provost shall provide a written final response to the Department indicating any actions the university will take in response to the external review.
  7. One year after issuing the final response, the Provost shall meet with the Department chair, GAR, Dean, Vice Provost GS, and the Vice Provost for the Downtown Campus (when appropriate) to review progress in responding to the external review.

FORMS AND TOOLS/ONLINE PROCESSES


Academic Program Review (Provost’s Web Site, Vice Provost for Academic Affairs)