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» Overview for External Reviewers

Program review represents Chapman's commitment to excellence in academic programs through ongoing, cyclical review of educational effectiveness. Program review also provides an opportunity for each program to reflect on its contribution and role within the University's larger mission and strategic initiatives. Finally, a well-executed program review provides valuable evidence that guides institutional planning, budgeting and decision-making.

Goals of Program Review

  1. Improve student learning
  2. Assess program quality and currency
  3. Reflect on the alignment of program goals and learning outcomes with institutional mission and strategic initiatives
  4. Provide data and evidence to support institutional planning, budgeting and decision-making

The program review process includes data collection, analysis and review by the program, a written self-study from the program, a site visit and report by an external review team, an advisory report from the faculty's Assessment Committee, Long Range Planning Council and Academic Council (undergraduate) or Graduate Studies Council (graduate) and culminates with a response from the Office of the Provost. The Provost's response calls for appropriate actions based on the final recommendations that emerge as a result of the program review process.

The role of the external reviewers is important in the program review process. Each program review includes a visit by at least two external reviewers with strong credentials in the discipline. The external reviewers prompt academic units and the university to address issues that may come to light during the program review process, and facilitate an institutional and program response to the program review.

For the program review, the academic unit writes a Program Review Self-Study Report of 10-15 pages, focusing on central issues facing the program, educational effectiveness, and the program's contributions to the university's mission and strategic plan. The unit provides its Program Review Self-Study Report and Appendix and other materials to the external reviewers via the Office of the Provost at least two weeks in advance of the two and one-half day program review site visit.

The unit prepares a schedule for the external reviewers' site visit in consultation with the Office of the Provost. During the site visit, the external reviewers meet with program faculty, students, staff, and administrators. Before meeting with the unit, the external reviewers will meet with the Vice Provost of Institutional Effectiveness and Faculty Affairs and the college/school dean or department chair. The external reviewers review program materials and exhibits of student work, attend class meetings, and tour facilities and library holdings relevant to the academic unit. At the conclusion of the site visit, the external reviewers prepare an External Reviewer Summary Sheet and rough draft of their report. The reviewers summarize their program evaluations and recommendations in an exit briefing with the Provost, the Vice Provost of Institutional Effectiveness and Faculty Affairs, the college/school dean, and (if applicable) the department chair.

During the external reviewers' visit, the unit shall be responsible for making additional materials available for external reviewers should the need arise.

External Reviewer Responsibilities:

  1. External reviewers, as recognized experts in the disciplinary/professional field of the unit undertaking program review, provide critical judgment, ensure the objectivity of the program review process, and determine how the program compares to other programs in the region and nation.
  2. Reviewers should bring an informed and unbiased view to the assessment of the program. External reviewers should judge whether the plans of the department are appropriate, considering such factors as the current condition of the program, trends in the discipline, the nature of the faculty, and the characteristics of the students and the community the program serves. Reviewers may be provided with a list of questions to be specifically addressed in their report, but they are not to be constrained from covering other issues that might arise during the course of their review.
  3. Within two weeks of the site visit, external reviewers will submit a final written report of approximately 10 pages, using the findings outlined in the External Review Summary Sheet and the Program Review Self Study Report as guides to the content of their report. The final report of the external reviewers should be addressed to the Provost, who will send copies of the report to the Director of Assessment and Strategic Curricular Initiatives, the college/school dean and (if applicable) the department chair. The External Reviewers' Report shall not require a specific format.