Program review is a collaborative process designed to provide an in-depth, comprehensive study of departments and programs at Minnesota State University. This process involves administrators, staff, students, faculty and external consultants in:
- Gathering information about a department/program
- Reviewing and analyzing that information
- Making judgments about overall department/program quality
- Making recommendations for department/program improvement
- Monitoring department/program accountability for improvement
- Supporting the department/program in implementing recommendations.
Program review serves the primary purpose of providing an opportunity for focused reflections, studying and gathering of information which supports on-going department development and improvement. It also provides a consistent means of evaluating departments/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, North Central Association and national accreditation associations' performance standards and educational policies.
For departments/programs not accredited by external accrediting agencies, the University has established a five-year cycle of program review (see Division of Student Affairs Comprehensive Program Review Calendar). For externally accredited departments/programs on a five-year accreditation cycle or less, the accreditation self-study and the external consultant's report will satisfy program review requirements.
- The Council for the Advancement of Standards guidelines, standards, and self-assessment guide;
- Standards and/or review process from a professional organization; or
- The self-directed process.
Campus Review – the Vice President commissions a campus review team (containing members inside and outside the division) to review the self-study and make recommendations.
External Review – the Vice President commissions an external consultant(s) to review the self-study and recommendations of the campus review team, complete an on-campus visit, and make recommendations.
Action Plan – the department develops and implements an action plan based upon the self-study and recommendations from the campus review team and external consultant(s).
Each department will establish a program review committee comprised of administrators, staff, students and faculty as appropriate. This committee will lead the department in the self-study option selected.
- The self-study should be initiated twelve months prior to the external review site visit.
- Each program/service offered by the department should be addressed within the self-study.
- The completed self-study document will be forwarded to the Vice President for Student Affairs at least one month prior to the initiation of the campus review process. The Vice President for Student Affairs will review the document with the department director to assure its readiness for campus and external review.
At least one month before the external review site visit, the Vice President for Student Affairs will forward the self-study document and campus review document to the external reviewers. An attached cover letter may identify specific areas for reviewers' focus.
Option 1 – Council for the Advancement of Standards (CAS) process
- Organization and Management
- Human Resources
- Financial Resources
- Facilities, Technology, and Equipment
- Legal Responsibilities
- Equal and Access
- Campus and External Relations
- Assessment and Evaluation
Using the standards and/or review process from a professional organization, the department prepares a self-study.
Option 3 – Self-Directed process
The department prepares a self-study that includes the following minimal topics:
- Mission statement
- Central functions performed for the university
- Learning outcomes and/or service objectives
- Annual goals
- Staff and responsibilities
- Organizational chart
- Decision-making processes, departmental teams
- Campus relations
- Profile and tracking of students or clients
- Assessment plan, data, and results
- Equipment and technology
Future Plans and Recommendations
Six months prior to the anticipated external review site visit, the department director will visit with the Vice President for Student Affairs to recommend and discuss a list of potential campus review team members. No less than five months prior to the external review, the Vice President for Student Affairs will appoint the campus review team.
The campus review team will be expected to examine critically the department's self-study report; to gather any additional evaluative information; and to prepare a brief written report assessing the department for strengths, limitations, and recommendations for making improvements. The campus review team will submit to the Vice President for Student Affairs a written report at least six weeks prior to the scheduled external review site visit.
Nine months prior to the anticipated external review site visit, the department director will visit with the Vice President for Student Affairs to recommend and discuss a list of at least five potential reviewers. No less than six months prior to the external review, the reviewers will be selected and commissioned by the Vice President for Student Affairs and invited to participate in the program review.
The external reviewers will be expected to examine critically the department's self-study report and the campus review 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 the department for strengths, limitations, and recommendations for making improvements.
During the external review site visit, the reviewers will meet with department/program staff, the Vice President for Student Affairs, and key constituents such as other administrators, staff, students, faculty and professional community representatives (if appropriate). Within one month following the external review site visit, the reviewers will submit to the Vice President for Student Affairs a written report assessing perceived department/program strengths, limitations and recommendations for making improvements.
Two to three external reviewers are recommended for the external review site visit. Funding to support the external review process will come from the department engaging in the program review. If adequate funds can not be provided by the department a request for supplemental funds should be made to the Vice President for Student Affairs at least nine months prior to the external review site visit.
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 recommendations for department improvement. The department director will then meet with the Vice President for Student Affairs and appropriate supervisors to examine the findings of the program review and discuss the recommendations. When the recommendations have been approved by the Vice President for Student Affairs, the department, with appropriate supervisors, will together plan implementation strategies and develop an action plan. In the department's annual setting of goals each fall and in the department's annual report of accomplishments each spring, the department will demonstrate progress in any areas specified for improvement.