Unit Academic Program Review

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TitleUnit Academic Program Review
CategoryAcademic Affairs
Sub-categoryAccreditation, Assessment and Other Academic Matters

November 2008, revised June 2010; June 2011; June 2012


Associate Provost for Academic Program Planning and Development (252-328-5358)

Related Policies


Additional References (Procedures for Unit Academic Program Review, November 2008, revised June 2010, November 2011) (Academic Program Review Schedule)

1. Introduction

The primary goal of the unit academic program review is to improve both undergraduate and graduate education at East Carolina University. Program review offers a way of achieving that goal by providing guidance to improve individual programs. This regulation establishes the responsibilities of various units with regard to content of program review self-studies and how the schedule of program reviews is determined. Unit Academic Program Review is the form of program evaluation supported by the Division of Academic Affairs, the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, and the Division of Health Sciences:

(1) On-site review: The review process is comprised of six major components:

  1. Self-Study prepared by the unit’s undergraduate and graduate faculty
  2. On-site review by a Review Committee
  3. Review Committee’s evaluative report and recommendations
  4. Program faculty’s response to that report with prioritized resource needs
  5. Negotiation with the college/school to attain necessary resources
  6. Action plan that provides the focus for a post-review meeting of the program chair, college/school, Graduate School, and university administrators

(2) Outcomes assessment: Three questions frame the work in any assessment program, which is evidence-centered. This approach provides a rich context and conceptual framework for considering assessments of student learning outcomes and for asking important questions about the types of claims that can be made based on assessments.

a. Claim: What do the faculty want or need to say about the student in the academic program?
b. Evidence: What does the student have to do to prove that he or she has the knowledge and skills claimed by the academic program?
c. Assessment Activities and Tools: What assessment tools and/or activities will elicit the evidence that the program needs to about students knowledge and skills?

1.1. All undergraduate and graduate programs are subject to the review process, although it is recognized that some programs and/or academic units at East Carolina University hold specialized national accreditation. In these instances, the accreditation review process will substitute for the ECU Academic Program Review process outlined in this document for each accredited program.

2. Primary Responsibility:

All reviews will be conducted under the auspices of the Division of Academic Affairs and, as appropriate, the Division of Research and Graduate Studies and the Division of Health Sciences, in conjunction with Institutional Planning, Assessment and Research (IPAR) and in cooperation with the individual unit programs under review and the dean of the College or School in which that program is offered. The review process will be jointly funded with the necessary EPA faculty, SPA staff, and operating costs by the deans, the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, the Division of Research and Graduate Studies, the Division of Health Sciences, and the Chancellor’s Office. The roles of each participating unit are described below:

2.1. The Associate Provost for Academic Program Planning and Development will function as the Coordinator for the review process and will manage all aspects of the review process.

2.2. IPAR will provide standard data (e.g., from Department Profiles; the University of Delaware Study of Cost and Productivity; summaries of major counts; student evaluation of teaching summaries; etc.). Some additional data may be provided by the school/college dean’s office. IPAR has developed numerous data indexes in order to provide adequate data on both undergraduate and graduate programs when a program review is begun.

2.3. The college, school, or department housing the program reviewed will participate in the initial planning of the on-site review, including providing a list of potential reviewers.

2.4. The Review Committee will range from a minimum of three reviewers (one internal reviewer, one external reviewer focusing on undergraduate programs, and one external reviewer assigned to graduate programs) to a maximum of four reviewers (one internal reviewer, two external reviewers focusing on undergraduate programs, and one external reviewer assigned to graduate programs). The membership of the Review Committee will be dependent upon the levels (undergraduate and/or graduate), size, and complexity of the programs. The actual membership of the Review Committee will be decided jointly by the participating dean, and the Academic Council.

2.5. The Divisions of Academic Affairs, Research and Graduate Studies, and Health Sciences and the Chancellor, within a budget and under such expenditure rules as are established in advance of the review. will provide staffing and funds for expenses and stipends. In addition, they will work with the unit programs to develop final action plans in response to the on-site review report recommendations and Educational Policies and Planning Committee (EPPC) recommendations.

2.6. Each unit program will be reviewed on a predetermined seven-year cycle, except when extenuating circumstances necessitate a change in the schedule. For programs with specialized accreditation, program reviews will follow the accreditation cycle. A seven-year program review schedule, which is approved by the Academic Council, is posted on the Office of Academic Program Planning and Development, Graduate School, and the Faculty Senate web sites.

3. Program Review Process Includes Seven Identifiable Steps.

3.1 Unit self-studies must address the following areas:

3.1.1 Program Description

3.1.2 Curriculum/Instruction

3.1.3 Students

3.1.4 Faculty (including faculty vitae)

3.1.5 Resources

3.1.6 Assessment of Outcomes/Faculty Expectations

3.1.7 Current Research/Creative Activity

3.1.8 Service/ Outreach

3.1.9 Other Issues Faced by the Program/Department (not covered elsewhere)

3.1.10 Accreditation, and

3.1.11 Summary Comments and Vision for the Future

3.2 On-Site Review

3.3 Reviewers’ Report

3.4 Faculty Response and Action Plan

3.5 EPPC Review

3.6 Academic Council Review

3.7 Biennial Reports on Action Plan Implementation