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Planning: Program Review

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Planning: Program Review
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Office of Planning & Institutional Performance
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
AB5 - Suite 313
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Contact: Jacquie Toth
Phone: (239) 590-7046
Fax: (239) 590-7098


Frequently Asked Questions

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What is Program Review?

Program review is a process of systematic review and evaluation of academic programs in a university that takes place at regular intervals. Program reviews usually involve a self-study by the department or program that is the subject of the review.

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Why are Program Reviews needed?

Program review not only fulfills a state mandate but also provides the basis of application for professional accreditation by programs that need it. In an institution such as FGCU, which is committed to ongoing evaluation, it achieves other important objectives as well. It assesses program quality and facilitates program improvement in colleges, and it contributes to the corpus of information on institutional effectiveness presented by the University to the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (SACS), its regional accrediting body.

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When are Program Review Reports due?

Program Review reports are submitted yearly according to a predetermined schedule. According to the Board of Governors (BOG), all academic degree programs must undergo review at least once every seven years.

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What FGCU programs are currently being reviewed?

Currently there are four programs with final Program Review Reports due in 2009 and five programs with final reports due in 2010.

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What is the current status of academic program review at FGCU?

Academic program review is undergoing a transformation to more effectively link university student learning outcomes with program-specific outcomes and to incorporate the assessment of these outcomes into the program review process. A 2002 working group developed New FGCU guidelines, and called for, and gave examples of, increased emphasis on evaluating accomplishment of student learning goals. A 2004 Board of Governors' directive continued this emphasis.

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How is this transformation being accomplished?

First, renewed emphasis has been placed on the development of Integrative Program Matrices (IPMs) for each degree program. This provides an assessment roadmap for identifying and capturing key data to inform program growth and renewal.

The IPMs include the following elements:

  • university student learning outcomes juxtaposed with program-specific learning outcomes;
  • identification of where outcomes occur in the curriculum;
  • assessment methods employed to determine whether outcomes are being realized; and the use of the assessment data to effect continuous improvement in the program.

Second, in response to the policy directive and renewed emphasis by the Provost on program review as a tool for program improvement, the following changes are being made to strengthen the program review process:

Program reviews now make use of an external consultant in all cases (previously only those programs being reviewed for specialized accreditation were subject to external review). If not part of a specialized accreditation visit, this review may be either through an on-site visit or a critique of the self-study, both following a charge to the reviewer.

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How will faculty participate in the oversight of the new process?

Faculty will now be more broadly involved in the program review process. The Faculty Senate at the request of the Provost has created a standing committee for Program Review (The Program Review Team) that works with the Office of Planning and Institutional Performance to establish by laws for its operation. This committee participates in the review process, examines results and recommendations from program review, and monitors suggested changes. It will reviews development and implementation of Academic Learning Compacts for existing baccalaureate degree programs.

In addition to sharing summaries of the reviews with the Board of Governors (as is current practice), there is a response meeting after receipt of the consultant's review involving the program leadership, the dean, the AVP for Planning and Institutional Performance and the Provost to discuss recommendations and strategies to improve the program. There will also be a one-year follow-up meeting involving these same participants to discuss progress on implementation of strategies for program improvement.

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How does academic program review figure in the new Institutional Effectiveness Model for the university?

In addition to the response and follow-up meetings described above, the colleges are expected to report results of program reviews in their college annual report along with any request for priority consideration for additional resources by the Planning and Budgeting Committee (PBC) as an outcome of the review .

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Will this process continue to allow for a specialized accreditation self-study and review in lieu of a separate internal program review to satisfy institutional and Division of Colleges and Universities program review requirements?

Yes, this will not change. In instances where a program is undergoing professional accreditation, the self-study presented to the accrediting body as well as the subsequent report of the visiting team will continue to serve as a review for the program preparing the self study. In these cases, the guidelines provided by the accrediting body are used in conjunction with the FGCU Guidelines.

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Within the colleges, who is responsible for seeing that IPMs are developed and implemented?

Ultimately the college dean is responsible for seeing that IPMs are developed and implemented for their college's academic degree offerings at all levels both undergraduate and graduate. In addition, each college has also designated an assessment liaison who works with the Office of Planning and Institutional Performance to share information on Institutional Effectiveness between the college and PBC.

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Are the IPMs being implemented?

In some instances IPMs have been used for a number of years, but in most cases they are new and are in need of additional specificity. The Office of Planning and Institutional Performance is working with program leadership to refine the plans.

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What will happen next to the IPMs?

Each program will be asked to identify at least one aspect of the assessment plan that will be implemented in the coming year, lead to assessment results, and to consideration of those results to foster program improvement.

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Who will be responsible for overseeing this work and IPM development?

Again, deans ultimately have the responsibility to ensure that the faculty is coordinating college assessment activities, and that they are working with program leadership and program faculty to ensure program assessment and review take place.

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Will there be centralized support?

Yes, the Office of Planning and Institutional Performance is available to provide assistance in support of the program review process. The Office of Curriculum and Instruction is also available to provide support to assessment efforts.

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What is the relationship of the IPMs and Program Review to Academic Learning Compacts?

Academic Learning Compacts have been derived from the IPMs and must form part of all undergraduate program reviews. The efficacy of the ALCs will be assessed as part of the academic program review cycle. They must also be included in summaries prepared for the Board of Governors.

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How do I get more information on the program review process?

Please contact Lenore Benefield or consult the Planning and Institutional Performance website: