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Academic Program Review: Academic Support Programs

Program Review Should:

  • Provide a concise, candid and thorough assessment of the program’s strengths and weaknesses
  • Be forward looking and specific in its recommendations
  • Be evaluative, not just descriptive with regard to the quality of staff, programs, resources, operations and objectives
  • Be data driven and outcome-based
  • Provide accountability to internal and external constituencies

Review Cycle and Schedule
Programs will be reviewed every seven to nine years. Programs will be notified by the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs (EVCAA) one year before the external review team visit. It is expected that all members of the program will be involved in the review.

Self Study
The program will prepare a Self-Study Report in advance of the visit of the external reviewers. This report should describe the current state and future plans of the program, and identify challenges the program faces. The Self-Study, guided by the outline below, should use historical and assessment data as much as possible to review performance and quality, but at the same time should be written with a forward-looking approach. Over the next five years to eight years, to what does the program aspire and how is it positioned to realize those goals? How are historical data and assessment being used as a basis for strategic changes?

The narrative of the report should be 20-25 pages; data can be embedded or included as tables in appendices. The document should be submitted to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education (AVCUE) and Associate Vice Chancellor for Outreach and Online Delivery (AVCOOD) if appropriate for review in electronic format (email attachment), but it should be formatted for printing if reviewers request a printed copy. The AVCUE will forward the Self-Study to the EVCAA. Staff vitae should be included as appendices.

Self-Study Outline

  • Very brief overview of UMD
  • Mission and Goals of the department and program(s)
  • If the program has had a review done previously, an overview of that review and how the department has responded should be included
  • Staff
    • Academic and experiential background of the staff
    • Rationale for the size and composition of the program staff
    • Quantity and quality of the staff to meet program objectives
    • Extent of staff turnover and changes anticipated for the future
    • How the staff composition reflects the diversity goals of the institution and what efforts are being made to recruit staff from underrepresented populations
  • Overview of range and extent of programs/activities
    • Rationale for range and extent of programs/activities
    • Relationship to other programs including Liberal Education
    • Assessment and/or evaluation of programs/activities, including degree to which advisory boards are or are not used
    • Program viability including current and projected program/activity use by targeted and potential stakeholders
  • Professional Development and Support
    • Summarize the scholarly work and/or professional development and growth of staff
    • Summarize the history of program support, including administrative, institutional, and stakeholder
  • Resources including current status and adequacy
    • Space
    • Support staff
    • Facilities and equipment
  • Program administration
    • Governance and committee structure including student involvement
    • Effectiveness
    • Relationship to collegiate and campus administration
  • 1-5 year Program Plan
    • Summary of planning discussions, future directions
  • Challenges and Concerns
    • Self-study should conclude with specific questions from the program and administration to help the reviewers focus their visit and frame their report


  • Staff resumes; 3-4 pages per current staff member
  • Program outline; one representative outline per program/activity
  • Results of program evaluations if conducted and if not already included in the report body
  • Assessment plan including learning outcomes
  • Historical data
  • External Review Report from previous review if applicable
  • Other

Academic Program Review Timeline
The Program Review Schedule assigns to each program a specific fall semester during which the visit by external reviewers will occur. The EVCAA will initiate the program review one year prior to this visit. The Administration Team (AT) is defined as EVCAA, AVCUE, or AVCOOD as appropriate.








EVCAA initiates program review

One year prior to visit


External reviewers are selected and confirmed

Four months prior to visit


Program completes Self-Study and sends it to EVCUE and EVCOOD if appropriate

Seven weeks prior to visit


AT members read Self-Study and create specific questions for reviewers to be included in the self-study. The program may be asked for additional information and/or revisions.

Six weeks prior to visit


AT sends Self-Study, questions and draft itinerary to external reviewers

Four-five weeks prior to visit


Program sends final review visit itinerary to external reviewers after approval by the AVCUE or AVCOOD as appropriate

One week prior to visit


External reviewers visit campus



External reviewers send Report to the AVCUE and AVCOOD if appropriate

Four weeks after visit


AT members review Report prior to forwarding the Report to the program

One week after receipt of Report


Associate Vice Chancellor thanks external reviewers and completes reimbursement process



Program meets with AT to discuss report, program response and plans for moving forward

Four weeks after program receives Report

2* External Review Team Composition and Selection:  The external review team will typically consist of two members and, to the extent possible, be representative of program sub-disciplines, gender, ethnicity, and institution type. One of the two will serve as the chair of the review team. The chair will receive a stipend of $900.00 while the second member will receive a stipend of $800.00. The program will send a list of at least five individuals to the Associate Vice Chancellor along with their C.V.s and rationale for their selection. External reviewers should be from outside the University of Minnesota system, should not have a collaborative relationship with a current member of the program under review, and should not have served previously as a UMD academic program reviewer. The program must inform the Associate Vice Chancellor of potential conflicts of interest and seek an exemption in compelling cases. Selection of the external review team will be determined in consultation with the appropriate Associate Vice Chancellor.

When the external reviewers have been constituted with one member chairing the team, the program office will work with them on potential dates for the on-campus visit. Prior to finalizing the dates of the external visit, check with the AT members to make sure they are also available. Then the appropriate Associate Vice Chancellor will extend a formal invitation to each external reviewer to come to campus to review the program. The program office is responsible for making hotel arrangements, coordinating travel schedules, and handling reimbursements. External review team members should be informed that the following expenses will not be reimbursed: long distance phone charges, alcoholic drinks and airline fees for changing air travel schedules.

7** External Reviewers’ Visit: The program is responsible for arranging the daily itinerary for each team member and meeting their transportation needs. The review team should expect to arrive in Duluth in time for dinner on Day #1 and leave late morning on Day #3 depending on the actual schedule of meetings. The program will forward the draft itinerary to the Associate Vice Chancellor for approval prior to sending it to the external reviewers. The draft itinerary should be sent to the reviewers prior to the purchase of airline tickets so that they can make travel arrangements compatible with the itinerary.

Typical External Review Visit Itinerary

Day #1: Arrival in Duluth
Dinner with Administrative Team members (required)
External reviewers meet as time permits

Day #2 and the morning of Day #3
Meeting with EVCAA and/or Associate Vice Chancellors
Meetings, individually or in groups, with the program director, staff and students
Meetings with appropriate individuals in related programs and stakeholders
Tour of department and related facilities
Dinner on Day #2 and the rest of the evening are set aside for the review team to work on draft report and exit meeting on Day #3.

Day #3
Complete meetings from Day #2
Exit meeting for external reviewers to present oral summary of findings to AT (required)
Depart Duluth


The Office of the EVCAA is responsible for honoraria, travel, lodging, and meal expenses for review team members. The program is responsible for meal expenses for staff members. Expenses associated with preparing and distributing the Self-Study are borne by the program.


Please contact the Associate Vice Chancellor for Undergraduate Education.

Updated October, 2012

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Last modified on 01/23/13 08:21 AM
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