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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato
Office of Institutional Planning, Research and Assessment

Program Review Procedures

Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/assessment/program_review/procedure.html

Definition  

Program Review is a collaborative process designed to provide an in-depth, comprehensive study of departments and programs at Minnesota State University, Mankato.  This process involves faculty, staff, students, administrators, professional community members, and external consultants in:  

  1. Gathering information about a program/department,
  2. Reviewing and analyzing that information,
  3. Making judgments about overall quality,
  4. Making recommendations for improvement,
  5. Monitoring accountability for improvement, and
  6. Supporting the program/department in implementing recommendations.

Purpose

Program review serves the primary internal purposes of providing an opportunity for focused reflections, gathering and studying of information which supports on-going development, and improvement.  It provides a consistent means of answering faculty, staff and administrators questions about the nature of Minnesota State Mankato's programs and how well they are achieving goals of effectiveness and fulfilling University mission and goals.  Such mission-aligned review also serves external purposes of satisfying Minnesota State College and University (MnSCU) Board, Higher Learning Commission, and national accreditation associations performance standards and educational policies.

Review Cycle  

For programs/departments not accredited by external accrediting agencies, the University has established a multi-year cycle of program review.  For externally accredited programs, the accreditation self-study and the external reviewers' report satisfy the self-study and external review components of program review.

Self-Study  

Each department will establish a program review committee comprised of program faculty, staff, student and, when appropriate, professional community representatives.  This committee will lead the department in a self-study according to the program review guidelines established by Minnesota State Mankato.  Each program/service offered by the department should be addressed with the self-study: undergraduate and graduate; bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, etc.; master of arts, master of science, etc.  The self-study should be initiated up to twelve months prior to the evaluation visit by external reviewers.  The completed self-study document will be forwarded to the Dean* two months prior to the external reviewer's site visit.  The Dean will review the document with the Department Chair/Director to assure its readiness for external review.  At least one month before the site visit, the Dean will forward the self-study document to the external reviewers.   An attached cover letter may identify specific areas for reviewers focus.

External Review

Two external reviewers will be selected to conduct the next phase of the program review.  External reviewers will be expected to examine critically the department's self-study report prior to conducting their formal on-site visit; to utilize the on-site visit to gather additional evaluative information; and to prepare a written report assessing each program/service offered by the department for strengths, limitations, and potential for making improvements.  Up to nine months prior to the anticipated site visit, the Department Chair/Director will visit with the Dean to recommend and discuss a list of at least five potential external reviewers. 

No less than six months prior to the visit, the external reviewers will be selected by the Dean and invited to participate in the program review.  During the site visit, the reviewers will meet with faculty, staff, students, the Dean, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (if appropriate), the Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, and professional community representatives (if appropriate).  Within one month following the site visit, the reviewers will submit to the Dean a written report assessing perceived strengths, limitations and potential for making improvements.  The Dean will forward this report to the department and the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs.

Program Review Recommendations and Meeting 

Within one month following receipt of the external reviewers' written report and recommendations, the department will provide a response to the external reviewers' report and recommendations, and prepare a final set of program review recommendations for improvement. 

A program review joint meeting will be held with the Department Chair/Director, the Dean, the Dean of Graduate Studies and Research (when graduate programs are involved), and the Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, to review the findings of the program review and discuss the final set of program review recommendations for improvement.  The Dean will prepare a brief summary of the meeting, the program review recommendations identified for improvement, and implementation strategies. 

In its annual settings of goals each fall and its annual report of accomplishments in the spring, the Department will demonstrate progress in any areas specified for improvement. 

Program Review Documentation

Following the program review joint meeting, the Dean will forward the following items to Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment:

  • department's self-study,
  • external reviewers' report and recommendations,
  • department's response and program review recommendations for improvement, and
  • Dean's program review summary.

*For academic support service units, Academic Affairs will act in the role of the Dean.  For student affairs units, the Vice President for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management will act in the role of the Dean/Vice President.