Guidelines for Departmental Review

Phase One: Resources/Processes

Establish/Confirm Program Advisory Board

Each degree program is to have an Advisory Committee—standing or ad hoc. For certificate programs and advisement sequences that are closely related to a degree program, reviewers may seek input from the same advisory committee that advises the department on the degree program. For programs that are accredited by an external agency, the agency may be considered to be the advisory committee. Further, a description of the agency and its review team and a copy of the accreditation report and recommendations may stand in place of the materials called for in this section.

Establishment --

  • Establish a degree program advisory committee if one is not already in place.

Function –

  • Develop a brief report endorsed by the committee articulating the purpose, goals and activities of the committee.

Select Members –

  • List the committee membership (names, titles, contact information)
  • Indicate how the committee’s design ensures the achievement of the committee’s goals.

Meeting schedule – annual, semiannual or biennial

  • Indicate actual and projected meeting dates.
  • Provide the minutes from the advisory committee meetings of the previous three years and during the period of review.


Establish and Assess Program Goals

Number of Incoming Students Annually

  • Review program enrollments (headcount) for the past three years
  • Monitor and report enrollment for the period of review and project the goal for the subsequent three years.
  • Report and comment on (if appropriate) the demographics of the students enrolled in the program during that period.

Graduate Goals (Placement, Salary, Licensure)

  • Review graduate placement, salary and licensure data for the past three years
  • Monitor and report this data for the period of review and project goals for the subsequent three years.

Faculty/Student Ratio

  • Review Faculty/Student Ratio data for the past three years
  • Monitor and report the ratio for the period of review and project goals for the subsequent three years.

Retention Data

  • Review retention data for the past three years. Retention will be measured for the program based on the retention definition used by State and Federal agencies. This definition requires colleges to report retention as the percentage of a cohort that transfers, is graduated or persists in three years after matriculation.
  • Monitor and report this data for the period of review and project goals for the subsequent three years.

Faculty Resources – Full-time, part time, adjunct in the program area

  • List all faculty full time faculty members who teach/have taught at least one course that is a program requirement or program elective over the period of review. List from longest-tenured to most recently hired. Include name, start date at MCC, rank, highest degree.
  • Indicate the number of part time and adjunct faculty who have taught such courses during the same period.
  • Report the number of FCH (full-time, part-time and adjunct) used to teach the program during the past three years.
  • Project anticipated changes, if any, for the next three years.
  • Describe the availability of full-time, part-time and adjunct faculty based on search experiences over the past three years. Report any known factors that may change the level of availability over the next three years.

Review Faculty Professional Development/Demographics

  • Describe the professional development activities undertaken by members of the department over the past three years and during the period of review as they relate to the goals for this program.
  • Describe areas of need for professional development in relation to program goals for the next three years.
  • Provide a summary of the demographics for the faculty group listed.
  • Project possible changes for the next three years and report departmental goals and expectations for how those changes relate to program goals.
    • Departments may wish to consider the disciplines in which specific faculty members are credentialed and determine which of those credentials the department is likely to lose to retirement in the future.
    • Departments may wish to consider whether the available faculty (full time, part time, adjunct) are sufficient in number to cover all program courses in the event of the loss or illness of a faculty member.

Identify Unique/Innovative Aspects of the Program

  • Describe the unique/innovative aspects of this program.
  • If the program is accredited, has applied for accreditation or the department plans to apply for accreditation in the next three years, describe the program’s accreditation status and identify the accrediting agency.


Review and Assess Administration and Resources Information

Marketing Initiatives

  • Describe any marketing initiatives unique to this program that have taken place over the past three years and during the period of review.
  • Indicate what initiatives, if any, are needed to meet program goals for the next three years.

Operational Leadership of Department

  • Describe the leadership/governance system used by the department over the past three years and during the period of review.
  • Describe any foreseeable changes in the leadership and/or governance system planned by the department.

Support Staff

  • List all departmental staff members not listed in the faculty section who provide/have routinely provided service to this program over the past three years and during the period of review. List from longest-tenured to most recently hired. Include name, start date at MCC, title and rank.
  • Report any anticipated changes in the next three years and assess the impact of those changes.

Budgetary Process and Fiscal Support

  • Describe the budgetary process used by the department over the past three years and during the period of review.
  • Describe the adequacy of the fiscal support in terms of meeting program goals.
  • Report revenues and expenditures for the past three years.
  • Describe any anticipated changes in revenues and expenditures in the next three years and assess the impact of those changes.

Review Ancillary Internal Resources

Library resources

  • Describe library resources on campus and available to the campus in support of the pedagogical core requirements of this program.

Audio-visual support resources

  • Describe the adequacy of the instructional technology used in this program.

Learning center availability

  • Describe the use of the Learning Centers by students/faculty in this program. Assess the adequacy of this resource.

Computer resources (hardware, software and technical support)

  • Describe the adequacy of computer resources used in this program.

Opportunities for technologically based instruction and alternative learning formats

  • List program requirements and electives that are taught through alternative formats or have been taught in such modalities in the past three years or during the period of review.
  • Indicate if any section of a course has been taught online, as a hybrid, as web-enhanced, as a telecourse, or in another modality.

Technology replacement plans

  • Describe the technology replacement schedule currently in use and project the replacements scheduled for the coming three year period.


Phase Two: Pre-Program Review Checklist


Develop and/or Review Student Outcomes

Learning Objectives

  • List the Student Learning Outcomes for the program.
  • Describe which courses in the curriculum contribute meaningfully to the achievement of each outcome.

Behaviors indicative of objective mastery

  • Describe how students will demonstrate the achievement of the program outcomes.

Designing measures

  • Review Program Assessment guidelines and design measures to be used in the assessment process.


Develop and/or Review Administrative Outcomes

Program viability

Enrollment

  • Identify the ideal enrollment for this program and assess the likelihood of enrollment growth or declines in the next three years.
  • Identify challenges that would result from any anticipated changes.

Environmental scan

  • Investigate the community need for the graduates of this program.

Placement

  • Review placement data of the past three years and project the expectations for placement for the next three years.

Graduation rates

  • Review the program’s graduation rates of the past three years and project any expectations for change in the next three years.

Student to resource ratio

  • Estimate and report the cost per student and comment on the impact of the program’s status in this regard.


Phase Three: Student Outcomes Assessment

Programs will assess student outcomes by identifying samples, collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. Programs should also assess the program’s strengths, opportunities, areas needing improvement and potential threats. See current SUNY Guidelines for requirements. As of August 12, 2003, the Guidelines were as follows.

SUNY Guidelines for the Implementation of
Campus-based Assessment of the Major

Revision: August 12, 2003

I. General

Each campus is responsible for overseeing the process through which the assessment of academic major programs takes place, following existing curriculum and governance procedures. Campuses and programs have maximum autonomy in the development of assessment plans for academic majors, and should include the input of faculty, professional staff, and students.

II. Guide for the Evaluation of Undergraduate Academic Programs

It is important to note that the assessment of student learning outcomes comprises only a part of the comprehensive program review process academic programs should undergo on a regular basis in order to stay current and provide the best possible education to their majors. The recently revised Guide for the Evaluation of Undergraduate Academic Programs(1) is a helpful working document accepted by the faculty for guiding program review and the Provost’s Advisory Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes recommends that the assessment of student learning outcomes in the Major be carried out within the broader framework of the University Faculty Senate’s guidelines.

III. Requirements

All programs should meet the following requirements in carrying out their assessment plan:

  • Programs should complete one cycle of assessment every five to seven years. If a review of the major has not been done within the past decade, it should occur early in this cycle;
  • Programs should include measures of student learning outcomes in their plans;
  • Programs should seek review of their final assessment report by an external review team, including a campus visit and report to the chief academic officer;(2) and,
  • Programs should include in their plans some strategy for measuring change in students’ knowledge and skills over time, specific to designated learning outcomes.

IV. External Review Team and Report

The purpose of the external review is to provide programs and academic leadership with an at-arm’s length, objective critique of the strengths and weaknesses of campus programs, so as to provide the basis for improvement. While issues related to funding levels may have some relevance, the focus of the review should be on the academic enterprise and on steps that could and should be taken to improve the program within available funding levels. Also, given the importance of good governance, it would not be inappropriate for the external review team to examine the effectiveness of program leadership and the level of functional collegiality within the department.

Many programs are reviewed regularly for reaccreditation purposes by an external review team whose membership is determined by a professional accrediting body. The membership of external review teams for all other programs should be discussed between the program/department being reviewed, the dean (where applicable) and the campus chief academic officer or his/her delegate. The campus chief academic officer should make the final determination. In general, external review teams should consist of not less than two (2) persons(3) who have no academic, professional or other significant relationship to full-time faculty in the program/department(4), no previous significant or formal affiliation with the institution, and who come from academic or professional institutions belonging to a peer or aspirational peer group (equivalent to being in the same Carnegie class and having similar program size, scope and statistical, or perceived reputational, ranking).

The report from the external review team should include:

  • The date of the campus visit and a list of the people whom the team met during the visit;
  • The team’s assessment of the program, including major strengths and weaknesses; and
  • The team’s recommendations to the chief academic officer for program improvement.

V. Reporting Requirements

By June 1 of each year, chief academic officers should submit to the Office of the Provost:

  • A list of the academic programs reviewed during the previous year;
  • For each program that was reviewed:
    • The departmental or program Self-Study document, which should include the Program Data Summary Table.
    • The completed Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes in the Major Summary Report; and
    • The report of the external review team;
  • A list of the programs scheduled for review during the next academic year.

VI. Additional Information and Recommendations

Please consult the Report of the Provost’s Advisory Task Force on the Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes (pp. 32-36, printed version) for additional information and recommendations regarding the assessment process for the major.

  1. The current version was approved by the University Faculty Senate and endorsed by the Faculty Council of Community Colleges in 2001.
  2. This could become a part of a more comprehensive, cyclical departmental or school review.
  3. Ideally there should be a third reviewer, from an unrelated department on the campus itself.
  4. Two-year career programs may include one Advisory Board member as part of each review team.


Phase Four: Actions for the Future

Develop Responses and Recommendations:

Following the compilation of the data for this review, provide a departmental response to the findings, as well as an assessment of the process itself. Finally, develop a series of recommendations within the following framework:

Maintain, expand, terminate or revise program structure

  • Indicate the plan for the future of the program.
  • Detail the rationale for the recommendation.

Change course/program objectives, outcomes or curriculum

  • If the recommendation is to revise the program structure, detail the changes to be made and provide a timeline for the completion of those changes.

Professional development planning

  • Reflect on the review of the professional development in the program that was created for Phase One of this report.
  • Detail the plan for the use of professional development as it relates to program goals.

Fiscal, physical and modality resource planning

  • Reflect on the review of the fiscal, physical and modality resource planning in the program that was created for Phase One of this report.
  • Detail the plan for resources in the future as it relates to program goals.

External validation

  • After incorporating the recommendations of the advisory committee into the final version of this review, attach a summary assessment report of the committee regarding the process used for this review and the outcomes generated by that process.
  • In particular, attach the advisory committee’s validation of the recommendations to be filed with this review.

Student availability

  • Comment on the incoming student interest in the program as measured by enrollments.
  • Assuming the program has community/employer support philosophically, what efforts are those stakeholders making to support the recruitment of students into the program?

Other recommendations

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