Procedures for Review of Non-departmental Programs

Purpose of the Review

The review permits a systematic appraisal of the unit's performance and direction. The review evaluates the unit in any of the following areas that are relevant: its educational programs and instructional efforts; its contribution to faculty research or creative work; its support services; its facilities or special resources; and its relationships with other units in the College and within the University.

Scope of the Review

At the time the review is initiated, the Dean consults the program coordinator of the unit on the scope of the review, including which issues the review should focus on and what questions specific to the unit should be addressed. The unit's advisory committee (or members of the affiliated faculty and staff who will serve on the self-study committee) is also invited to this consultation. This stage in the review process is intended to ensure that the review reflects the current situation of the unit and anticipates changes in the relatively near term, creates an opportunity for self-examination and initiative, and promotes productive conversation on the review issues within the unit, with the review committee, and ultimately with the College.

The scope of the review must include at least the questions below on mission, quality, and progress made since the previous review. The scope will also include questions which, in the view of the College and the unit, are particularly relevant to the future of the unit.

  1. Mission and Objectives: How does the unit define its mission? What actions has the unit taken to achieve its planning objectives? How does the unit serve the needs of students in the College and the University? How does the unit contribute to the research, scholarship, or creative work of faculty associated with it? What actions has the unit taken to diversify its faculty and students with respect to gender and ethnicity?
  2. Results of Previous Review: How have the recommendations of the previous review been implemented? What other important events or changes have occurred since the last review?
  3. Quality: What are the strengths of the unit? How does the unit compare with similar units at other universities?
  4. Teaching and Advising: In units that offer courses or degree programs, is the curriculum current and appropriate? How does the unit evaluate its curriculum and degree programs? How are the unit's advising responsibilities met? How does the unit involve students in its research, scholarly, and/or creative mission? If the unit uses graduate teaching assistants in offering courses, how are they trained and supervised?
    In units that award a bachelor's degree: How is the unit using the results of its assessment of student achievement in the major to improve its instructional programs? How does the unit participate in the University Honors Program and should anything be done to increase this participation or improve its quality?
  5. Physical Plant: Are there problems with the space assigned to the unit? Are there pressing equipment needs that should be resolved?
  6. Special Review Questions: At the start of the review, the College and the unit consult on a set of questions tailored to the specific situation of the unit.


The point of departure for the review is a self-study prepared in consultation with, and approved by, the unit's affiliated faculty and staff and/or the unit's advisory committee. The self-study narrative is 10 pages or fewer, and addresses the principal issues within the scope of the review in sequence. The unit adds appendices in the sequence listed below.

Table of Contents for Appendices to the Self-Study:

  • A list of participating or affiliated faculty and professional staff members, and an abbreviated, current curriculum vitae for each (no more than 2 pages will be included in the self-study for any faculty or staff member)
  • (where applicable) The unit's hiring plan
  • Data reflecting the national standing of the unit or comparison with similar units at other institutions
  • (where applicable) The print-out of the University's General Catalog describing the unit's academic programs, or other information distributed to students
  • (where applicable) Data on student enrollments, students in the major, minor, and/or certificate program, and degrees or certificates awarded since the previous review (table provided by the College and reviewed by the unit)
  • (where applicable) Plan for assessing outcomes of the undergraduate major program, with data from each year since the plan was submitted (fall 2006)
  • (where applicable) The "Strategic Assessment of the Graduate Program,” updated with the most recent data from the Graduate College
  • The current budget from all sources (provided by the College and reviewed by the unit) and, where applicable, a summary record of external research support since the previous review
  • The review report from the last review of the unit
  • Other materials appropriate for the description of the unit's mission.

Work of the Review Committee

Appointment of Review Committee Members

The Dean appoints the internal members of the review committee in consultation with the College's Executive Committee and Associate Deans. In some cases, the Dean may also appoint one or more external reviewers. The Dean appoints external members of the committee after soliciting nominations from the unit and other appropriate sources and consulting the Executive Committee and the Associate Deans.

Review Visit

The unit under review and the Office of the Dean cooperate in preparing the schedule of the reviewers' interviews. The review begins with an orientation meeting with the Dean and Associate Deans. The members of the review committee then interview faculty, staff, and students in the unit as well as any faculty or administrators outside the unit who are suggested by the unit, the College, or the reviewers themselves. The reviewers may meet with affiliated faculty and staff individually or in groups.

If an external reviewer is appointed, the internal and external reviewers conduct these interviews jointly during the review visit. The review visit concludes with an exit interview with the Dean, the Dean of the Graduate College (if the unit has a graduate program), and the Vice Provost or other representative of the Provost's office. Consistent with the practices governing site visits of professional accrediting teams, the College asks that external reviewers not receive or accept social invitations, including invitations to meals, from individual faculty members or subgroups in the unit being reviewed, in order to ensure that the review process is fair and neutral and that it is perceived as fair and neutral.

Review Report

The review committee submits a report to the Dean summarizing its conclusions and recommendations. The Dean transmits the review report to the unit.

Any evaluative comments about identified or identifiable persons (including the program coordinator) must be separately reported to the Dean, who will notify the persons commented on and provide them access to the comments. The Dean shall maintain the confidentiality of these comments as needed.

Review of the Program Coordinator

University policy requires that long-term administrators undergo periodic evaluation. For program coordinators serving extended terms, these evaluations are conducted as part of the unit's review, when possible. The internal review committee may be asked to submit a confidential report to the Dean on the performance of the unit's program coordinator, separate from the review report on the unit itself.

This confidential assessment focuses on issues related to the achievement of the unit's mission and the well-being of faculty, staff, and students affected by the unit. The committee's information-gathering procedures should provide for all faculty and staff associated with the unit to participate in evaluating the program coordinator. The Dean will share the evaluation with the program coordinator, maintaining confidentiality as necessary, and will transmit the substance of the report to the unit's faculty and staff. The review of the program coordinator, like other materials evaluating individuals, does not become part of the review file that is available to members of the University community or general public.

Unit's Response to the Review Report

The Dean, in transmitting the review committee report, will solicit a written response, including the correction of any factual errors, from the unit.

Collegiate Response to the Review Materials

The Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (and the Dean of the Graduate College, where appropriate) will then discuss the self-study, the review report, and the response of the unit with the Educational Policy Committee (if the unit is primarily an academic program) and/or with the Executive Committee (if the unit has significant budget implications) before transmitting the written response to the review. The review process officially concludes with the transmission to the unit of the Collegiate response.

Access to Review Documents

When the Deans' response to the review has been transmitted to the unit, all the review materials are treated as public documents, except those (like the assessment of the DEO or other individuals) that are prepared with an explicit expectation of confidentiality.

The unit makes the review materials available to its affiliated faculty, staff, and students. The College will make the review documents available to others upon request.


The review process will normally be completed in slightly more than a year from the time the unit begins the self-study.

  • The Dean will notify each unit of the schedule of its review.
  • The internal and external members of the review committee will be scheduled to conduct their interviews following the preparation of the self-study.
  • If the review committee submits its report at the end of the spring semester or during the summer session, the unit may convey its response early in the fall semester.