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Minnesota State University, Mankato
Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Self-Study Guidelines for Academic Support Units

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Program Review Self-Study Categories and Questions to Be Addressed
Academic Support Units

1.  Unit and Service Description

  • What are the unit's mission and goals?
  • How do they contribute to current University mission and goals?
  • What are the unit's diversity goals and objectives regarding students, faculty/staff and program offerings?  For purposes of this review, diversity should include race, gender, disability and sexual orientation (in accord with federal and/or state law).
  • How do the services and activities of the department fit with its expressed mission and goals?
  • What are the most noteworthy changes occurring within the unit and its services over the past five years?
  • How well has the unit fulfilled its mission and goals since the most recent program review?
  • What progress has been made in implementing the last program review's recommendations for service improvement?

Suggested Information Sources:

  • Annual Report of Accomplishment of Goals
  • Equal Opportunity & Title IX Plans and Reports

2.  Unit Outcomes

  • What are the outcomes for the unit, and what standards have been established for successful achievement of each of those outcomes?
  • How do unit outcomes reflect University mission and goals?
  • What is the evidence of success in achieving established unit outcomes?
  • Based upon the evidence gathered, what improvements have been made in unit services since the most recent program review?
  • How does the unit engage all faculty/staff in both planning for and assessing student academic support and services improvement?

Suggested Information Sources:

  • Annual Assessment Report
  • Assessment Plans

3.  Faculty Achievement

(subheadings and questions in category three are organized according to the criteria established for faculty professional development and evaluation under Article 22 of the Minnesota State/IFO Agreement and Article 13 of the Minnesota State/MSUAASF Agreement.  Criterion 3, continued preparation and study, is not explicitly included because it supports achievements in other outcomes/criteria rather than being a direct outcome for the program.)

Effectiveness in Performing Current Duties:

  • What is the evidence of effectiveness in performance of current duties?
  • How do practices within the unit promote effective service?
  • How does the unit encourage improvement of service and effective performance?

Scholarly and/or Creative Work and/or Research:

  • What level of scholarly and/or creative work and/or research occurs within the unit?
  • How does it contribute to maintaining quality academic support services?
  • How are faculty members continuously encouraged and involved?

4.  Contribution to Student Growth and Development

  • In what ways does the unit encourage student growth and development through the services provided?
  • How are students benefiting from such services?
  • How do unit faculty identify, refer and/or support students who may have academic learning difficulties?
  • How effective is the unit in providing academic advising for  undergraduate and graduate students?
  • If the unit appoints student help or work study students, how are they recruited, trained, and mentored?
  • If the unit appoints graduate assistants, how are they recruited, trained, and mentored?

Service to University and Community:

  • In what ways does the unit serve the university and its communities?
  • How do students and academic support programs benefit from such service?
  • How does the university benefit?

Suggested Information Sources:

  • Professional Development Plans and Reports (IFO)
  • Faculty Improvement Grants (IFO)
  • Achievement Incentive Plans and Reports (ASF)                  
  • Faculty Research Grants (IFO)
  • Tenure/Promotion Applications (IFO)                                      
  • Sabbaticals (IFO)
  • Partnerships/Collaborations/Centers                                     
  • Advisory Council Minutes
  • Minutes of Unit Meetings                                                            
  • Student/Faculty Research
  • Assessment of Advising Activities                                              

5.  Resource Management

When viewed across the time since the most recent program review, what do the following indicators of resource management suggest about the strengths and weaknesses of the department and each of the undergraduate and graduate program/s it offers?

  • Faculty/Staff: How are responsibilities within the department allocated to meet needs for service to students, research, student growth and Development, service to university and community, etc.?  What does this show about unit strengths and weaknesses?
  • Facilities:  What facilities are used?  What is their quality?  Is this a strength or weakness?
  • Equipment:  What equipment is used?  What is its quality?  Is this a strength or weakness?
  • Nonsalary Budget: What level of funding?  How is it allocated within the unit?  Is this a strength or weakness?
  • Development:  What development initiatives have been undertaken?  With what success?  Is this a strength or weakness?
  • Instructional Technology/Media Support: What are the quantity and quality of media holdings and instructional technology?  Is this a strength or weakness?

6.  Summary Evaluation and Outlook

Based upon the information included in the program review self-study:

  • What are the unit's strengths in programs and activities?
  • What are the unit's limitations in programs and activities?
  • What information does environmental scanning provide in considering the unit's future plans for programs and activities?
  • In relation to programs and activities, what unit goals and priorities should be established for the next five years?