CofC Logo


Undergraduate Program Review Process
Committee on Assessment of Institutional Effectiveness
February 5, 2016
  1. Background

    The South Carolina Commission on Higher Education no longer conducts external reviews of undergraduate programs, and thus many programs no longer have them. However program reviews are useful as a component of SACSCOC reaccreditation submissions, as well as for other possible purposes noted below. Thus the College is adopting a system to produce such reviews internally of programs for which no suitable external review is available.
  1. Purposes
    1. To provide evidence of compliance with SACSCOC core requirement 2.5 on planning and evaluation, and comprehensive standards 3.3.1: The institution identifies expected outcomes, assesses the extent to which it achieves these outcomes, and provides evidence of improvement based on analysis of the results in each of the following areas: educational programs, to include student learning outcomes…and 3.4.12: The institution places primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of its curriculum with its faculty.
    2. To commend programs for exemplary work.
    3. To identify programmatic innovations that should be replicated elsewhere on campus.
    4. To suggest opportunities for programmatic improvement.
  2. Policy

    Every seven years, each undergraduate program will undergo a review assessing the extent to which it:
  1. I Has an articulated mission statement that aligns with strategic plan.
  2. Has stated program goals and learning outcomes.
  3. Assesses the effectiveness of program learning outcomes.
  4. Reflects on and if necessary acts on assessment data of student learning.
  5. Plans for curricular change to better meet program goals and learning outcomes.
  6. Has professionally active and engaged faculty scholars.
  7. Has faculty members who are engaged in service to their Department, School, Campus, Discipline and/or their Community.
  8. Provides opportunities for faculty development in teaching and research.
  9. Produces alumni who use their degree to launch a successful career, to further their education, or to contribute to society.
  10. Contributes to the broader educational development of students by participating in programs or initiatives such as general education, Honors, interdisciplinary programs, the Quality Enhancement Plan and/or the First Year Experience.
  11. Provides high impact experiences for students (capstone courses, research, internships, travel, performance, etc).
  12. Has an enrollment strategy to maintain student interest in the discipline in a way that enhances program quality.
  13. Has sufficient resources to not be overly reliant on adjunct faculty, and has an articulated process for adjunct evaluation.
  14. Attracts diverse students and faculty.

Reviews are informed by the following data from the indicated sources:

    1. From information that should be available in Annual Assessment Reports from the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning (OIEP):
      1. Student Learning Outcomes of the program.
      2. Program’s self-assessment methods.
      3. Program changes resulting from assessment.
    2. From annual reports:
      1. Mission Statement of the program.
      2. Program goals and their relationship to the College’s strategic plan.
      3. Strategies and tactics in the College’s strategic plan the department or program would place as highest priorities.
      4. Curricular offerings unusual for the program.
      5. Instructional contributions to other units, programs, and initiatives, including the Honors and FYE, REACH program, etc.
      6. Distance education or hybrid course offerings.
      7. Departmental or program contributions to inter-disciplinarity, internationalization/globalization, personalized education.
      8. Departmental contributions to high impact student experiences (such as research and creative activities, civic engagement, study away, internships, peer education and service learning).
      9. Student (and recent graduate) accomplishments.
      10. Faculty Productivity in Research and Professional Development.
      11. Service and Outreach Contributions beyond the Department.
      12. Honors/awards external to the unit received by faculty or department/program during review year.
      13. Narrative summaries of the curricular assessment.
      14. Professional development for faculty.
    3. From IR, and not needing to be assembled for the review submissions:
      1. Average class size
      2. Program enrollment trends since last review (sections offered, fall credit hours, spring credit hours)
      3. Program graduation data since last review
      4. Program’s reliance on adjunct faculty
      5. Program workload productivity
      6. Diversity in the program – faculty
    4. From IR, with new reports to support these reviews:
      1. Diversity in the program — students
      2. Trends in the numbers of majors, minors and annual number of graduates
      3. seven-year enrollment trend in key service courses
      4. seven-year enrollment trends in key entry-level majors courses
      5. seven-year enrollment trends in key senior-level courses
    5. From statement summaries that would be required of program directors as part of review submissions:
      1. Statement of program goals for the next five years
      2. Statement of curricular development or other major changes in the program(s) over the past seven years and new ones that are planned for the next five years
      3. Statement of program strengths
      4. Statement of program weaknesses
      5. Statement of program vulnerabilities (optional)
      6. Statement of Adjunct Evaluation process
      7. Statement of alumni success/job placement data, etc. (optional)
      8. Statement of resource limitations (optional)
  1. Procedures
    1. Process overview
      1. The Committee for Assessment of Institutional Effectiveness:
        • Establishes and maintains a schedule for the review of all undergraduate programs every seven years.
        • Develops and distributes a timeline for the upcoming review cycle.
        • Provides a rubric that will be used for the internal reviews.
        • Produces the reviews based on the submissions from departments and information from other sources as described above, according to the review rubric. It will evaluate whether the program meets or does not meet each program quality based on the submitted evidence. In particular the reports will address key program strengths, weaknesses, vulnerabilities and recommendations for improvement.
      2. The applicable dean collaborates with the Committee for Assessment of Institutional Effectiveness on the scheduling of reviews.
      3. The department submits the following documents to SharePoint at http://society/ projects/undergraduate_program_reviews.
        1. The seven most recent annual reports.
        2. Copies of the three most recent academic assessment reports with any attachments that were included in the reports (reports are generated within Compliance Assist).
        3. Evidence Document: a document with evidence for each element listed in the policy above, labeled in order, I-XIV.
        4. Program of Study Maps for each major being evaluated within the program.
        5. Institutional Research reports specific to the program (specifically for source items 24 to 28 above.)
        6. Statement of program goals for the next seven years (including curriculum plans).
        7. Statement of program strengths and weaknesses.
        8. Statement of alumni success/job placement data, etc. (optional).
        9. Statement of resource limitations (optional).
        10. Additional statements on any of the evaluation areas or links to data on websites (optional).

Notes on the Evidence Document The document can be assembled from photocopied/scanned pages of reports or it can be created as a separate document by pasting together relevant evidence from annual reports/assessment reports. The list of evidence does not need to be exhaustive (for example, it does not need to include evidence from every annual report for each element), but it should provide representative evidence that the program meets each expectation. Each piece of evidence should be annotated with a brief note indicating the original document it was taken from (for example: “Evidence for Quality X was copied from Annual report 2012-2013 and from Assessment Report 2015”). The chair or program director can choose which annual report or assessment report provides the best evidence for each Program Quality, but evidence from several reports should be included overall so that not all evidence is from a single year. The Evidence Document does not have to be pretty, just functionally labeled so that the location of the evidence is clear to the committee members evaluating it. (A sample document will be provided.)

  1. Report submissions and resulting actions

The following actions are taken upon completion of program reviews:

    • The reports are provided to the relevant departments and deans, and to the Office for Institutional Effectiveness and Strategic Planning.
    • Deans discuss plans for implementation of recommendations with the departments and the provost.
  1. Exemptions of programs from internal reviews

Exemptions from internal program review will be made for any program that has been evaluated by an accrediting body or by an ad hoc external evaluation arranged in cooperation with the appropriate Dean. If a department has multiple programs, but only one of the programs is accredited, the other unaccredited programs must undergo evaluation. To be excluded from the internal review, programs must upload copies of relevant certification letters to the Sharepoint website and provide a memo detailing what materials were evaluated for the external review. If over the seven year cycle of reviews, a new external evaluation is done, the updated materials should also be loaded onto the Sharepoint system. If a program chooses to undergo an external review rather than to participate in the internal review process, the program chair or Dean should notify the Chair of Institutional Effectiveness so that the program(s) can be removed from the schedule.