Academic Program Review
AY20 Expedited Program Review
What is academic program review?
Regular program review is part of our normal quality assurance process that reviews centrality to mission, program quality and student learning & success, as well as measures of demand, productivity and efficiency. The results of regular review help us identify new opportunities for collaboration, as well as make decisions about program enhancements, reductions or discontinuations.
Why are we doing expedited program review?
To address continuing fiscal challenges, the Board of Regents charged each university to conduct an expedited review process.
The following is a list of questions received from individuals and groups about the FY20 Expedited Program Review process. We will continue to add to the FAQs as we receive additional questions.
Q: What is academic program review?
A: Regular program review is part of our normal quality assurance process that reviews centrality to mission, program quality and student learning & success, as well as measures of demand, productivity and efficiency. The results of regular review help us identify new opportunities for collaboration, as well as make decisions about program enhancements, reductions or discontinuations.
Q: Why are we doing expedited program review?
A: We need to be prepared to address continuing fiscal challenges. The Board of Regents voted to suspend system-level program reviews, and charged each university to conduct its own expedited review process. This allows UAA to take control of its own destiny, chart its path forward, and deal in the most effective way with continuing budget reductions.
Q: What is the larger plan for budget decisions, and how does expedited program review fit into that plan?
A: While we would always first look to administrative cuts, depending on the size of the budget cut, we likely will need to look at academic programs. The expedited program review process will ensure we have both quantitative and qualitative data for making difficult, but fair, decisions, if it comes to that.
Q: Will the university conduct a parallel review of administrative structures with meaningful faculty involvement to determine how savings can be achieved through reduction in administrative costs?
A: Yes, there will be a review process of administrative areas, and we will consult with governance groups as we put that process in place.
Q: Why is UAA administration requiring all programs to go through this process? (UAF and UAS are going through a more limited review.)
A: We believe this is the most fair and equitable approach. We did not want to predetermine the outcome of these reviews by selecting a subset of programs from the very beginning. Moreover, decisions made on quantitative data alone do not give the full picture of our programs and the perspectives of faculty who know the programs well. The process brings in qualitative data, which only the programs can provide.
Q: Why is our expedited review process different from those being conducted at UAF and UAS?
A: UAA has an established process for Program Review, as do UAF and UAS. The expedited review is based on UAA’s regular process. We are sticking closely to UAA’s standard process.
Q: Shouldn’t faculty have a voice in whether or not to conduct a program review?
A: Program Review is an institutional process mandated by the Board of Regents. The schedule of review has historically been determined by Academic Affairs in consultation with the deans and community campus directors.
Q: Do programs scheduled for regular program review this year need to still do that as well as the expedited process?
A: No. Programs that were scheduled for regular program review only need to do the expedited process this year.
Q: Do programs scheduled to submit an interim progress report this year on the recommendations from their last program review need to submit an interim progress report this year?
A: No. Programs scheduled to submit an interim progress report do not need to submit one this year. They should, however, continue their work to address any recommendations that came out of their last program review.
Q: Couldn’t programs that recently conducted reviews or meet broad metrics (e.g. enrollment) be allowed to forego review if faculty choose that option?
A: For the process to be fair, everyone should be using the same data and format and not just rely on previous reviews. Further, allowing some programs to be defined by old data and narrative could be unfair to those programs. Having said that, programs can use much of their work from previous program reviews.
Q: How long will it take my program to complete our part of the review?
A: When compared to the regular Program Review process, the format has been streamlined, so it minimizes the burden on faculty. There are fewer questions, as well as maximum word counts. In addition, the deans’ offices have loaded the data into each report, so programs can focus on contextualizing and analyzing the data and making their main points. The time needed will depend on individual programs. Some early trials suggest the initial draft will take between 6-10 hours.
Q: How will faculty be compensated for participating in this process?
A: We have asked the deans and directors to address workload as part of this process and to bring to our attention any outstanding workload issues.
Q: What kind of support can we get?
A: IR (Institutional Research) is available for questions about the data, and there is a "Notes" tab on the IR-Reports Program Review site. Deans and community campus directors are meeting with programs, individually and collectively, to talk about ways to think about the data. The provost is also willing to meet with programs.
Q: How are the benefits of research assessed?
A: Programs should consider including information about research as it relates to, among other areas, centrality of program mission, program quality, student success, and program distinctiveness. Since this is an academic program review, be sure to tie research to the academic program.
Q: How can we include information about our minor or pre-major?
A: Programs can include information about the minor or pre-major in their responses to the narrative questions. For example, what role does the minor or pre-major play in enrollment? Student success?
Q; Where are the data definitions?
A: IR-Reports includes a "Notes" tab with the data definitions, as shown in the screenshot below.
Q: Why are data such as Course Pass Rates and Average Credits to Degree included for Program Review?
A: These are important student success data that the university is required to address. In analyzing these data, programs can talk about interventions they are taking to address these issues on their level. For example, if a course has a low pass rate, perhaps the program is changing the prerequisites for that course, switching texts, using active-learning strategies or other best practices.
Q: Since we know UAA enrollment has been falling, and we know the demographics of Alaska have been changing, how can or should we include that information to help explain why our numbers might not be as strong as they once were?
A: This is an important part of contextualizing and analyzing the data. Access to IR-Reports gives faculty access to enrollments across UAA, allowing faculty to compare enrollments in their programs to enrollments in other programs at UAA.
Q: What happens when the review leaves the college?
A: By Feb. 14 the dean will submit both the program report and the dean’s findings to the provost. The form the dean will use for these findings is posted on the UAA Program Review website and in the Program Review section of IR-Reports.
Q: What is the feedback window?
A: At each step of the process, the documents will be posted on IR-Reports. There are two main windows for feedback.
- Programs submit their report to the dean by Jan. 31.
- The dean’s findings will be copied to the program by Feb. 14, and then posted in IR-Reports. The program has one week (Feb. 14-21) to submit to the provost an optional response to the dean’s findings. The form for the dean’s findings is posted on the UAA Program Review website and in the Program Review Section of IR-Reports.
- The provost’s findings will be copied to the dean, appropriate community campus director, and the program. The findings will be posted in IR-Reports, and there will be a period of open feedback from March 6-16. The form for the provost’s findings is posted on the UAA Program Review website and in the Program Review section of IR-Reports.
- The chancellor will review all feedback and make a final decision by March 23.
Q: Will there be a ranking or list at the end of the process?
A: Consistent with UAA’s standard procedures for regular program review, UAA will not use rankings of programs. Instead, we will use the approved list of Program Review decision types: enhancement, continuation, revision, continued review, suspension and deletion.
Q: How will the University of Alaska system and Board of Regents be involved in this process?
A: We will submit decisions for major revision, including program reduction, suspension or discontinuation to the UA system and the Board of Regents.
Q: If I am a student, what should I know about this process?
A: We will keep students informed throughout the process. This is a multistep process, and the findings will be posted along the way in IR-Reports. Final decisions of the Board of Regents will be posted on a webpage dedicated to Academic Major updates. The Academic Major Updates page will include FAQs for students, along with resources and contact information. We also encourage students to contact their dean’s office with specific questions.
- Regular Program Review
Program review serves several purposes at UAA. It provides an opportunity for faculty to systematically talk about their curriculum and program, reflect on what has happened over the past several years, make recommendations regarding program improvement, and to voice their resource needs. It incorporates the annual process of Program Student Learning Outcomes Assessment, and allows faculty to examine whether or not ongoing improvements based on assessment findings have improved student learning over time. Program review is also an opportunity for administrators with responsibility for the program to review the program for performance and effectiveness and to engage the faculty in conversation about program quality and the program's goals for its future.
All academic programs and units at UAA are required by Board of Regents Policy P10.06.010 to engage in program review on a seven-year cycle. University Regulation R10.06.010 sets out the minimum requirements for program review, including centrality of program mission, quality, demand, program productivity, effectiveness, and efficiency. Exceptional reviews may be conducted, per University Policy and Regulation, and with the provost's approval.