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Academic Program Review

The Academic Program Review (APR) process is an important recurring exercise in self-assessment of an academic program.  Student learning outcomes assessment is a key process that programs are asked to describe in their APR self-study reports.  The APR is an opportunity for a unit to self-examine its assessment process and report findings on student learning.  These findings, developed from measurable learning outcomes and outcome-aligned assessment activities, can lead to productive faculty discussions about curriculum and instructional practices that may need change. The bullets and diagram below summarize the steps involved in the learning outcomes assessment review process embedded in the APR

Spring Prior to APR Self-Study Submission:
  • As academic units prepare for their Academic Program Review (APR) in the upcoming academic year, assessment specialists in the Office of Instruction & Assessment (OIA) host a workshop to address the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment requirements in the APR Self-Study.

During the Academic Year in which the Self-Study is Submitted:

  • The learning outcomes assessment information reported in the APR Self-Study is uploaded to the unit’s Taskstream AMS workspaces. This is done by the time the APR Self-Study is submitted. 
  • After the Self-Study is submitted to the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA), at least two OIA assessment specialists review and separately score the Student Learning Outcomes Assessment section(s) of the unit’s APR Self-Study using a rubric (see a blank rubric at Each graduate and undergraduate program is reviewed separately. The assessment specialists conducting the reviews then meet, confer on their ratings, and come to agreement on a score appropriate for each of the four rubric criteria.
  • The scored rubric(s) is(are) sent to the unit head in advance of the APR site visit, with a copy sent to the VPAA. The rubric scores are discussed at the site visit meeting.

During the Spring or Summer of the Year following the Self-Study Submission:

  • The department head is contacted by one of the OIA assessment specialists who conducted the rubric-scored evaluation to set up a meeting to discuss assessment rubric results and next steps for improvement. The meeting is held in the unit and includes as many individuals as the unit head invites to be present. 
  • After the meeting, the OIA assessment specialist prepares a draft memo for the VPAA outlining next steps for assessment improvements in the unit and recommendations for a timeline for accomplishing the improvements. The draft memo is shared with and revised as necessary by the unit head or the unit’s designated person. When everyone is in agreement on the content of the memo and the recommended timeline, the memo is sent to the VPAA and copied to the unit head and college associate dean.

Beyond the Self-Study Year:

  • The OIA assessment specialist working with the unit continues to respond to all requests from the unit for coaching and feedback on improvements to its assessment process.   
  • The unit updates its AMS workspaces annually by October 1.
  • One year following the APR, an OIA assessment specialist reviews the information in the AMS workspaces and uses the rubric to once again score the unit’s assessment process.  The scored rubrics are then reviewed by at least one other OIA assessment specialist. Differences are discussed and the specialists come to agreement on scores. Scored rubrics are sent to the unit head in September of the year AFTER the APR. Consultations and feedback are ongoing if requested by the unit.
  • The one-year review is repeated again at three years and five years post-APR. It is important for units to update their AMS workspaces annually to enable the review process and to be ready for the next APR in the seventh year.