Policy 2224 – Academic Program Review

Revision Date: 3/6/2003

Responsible Office: Provost

Program self-assessment is conducted regularly for many programs as part of the accreditation process and guided by specific guidelines from a disciplinary accreditation agency. For academic programs at Louisiana Tech University for which no accreditation agency provides guidelines, the following program evaluation documentation and review is required. A self-assessment study will be prepared by the unit head and the program faculty. The self-assessment study will be required for these programs every five years.

This study will be reviewed by the University Assessment Committee. The Assessment Committee will provide recommendations to the program and to the University regarding the assessment process, program goals, learning outcomes, curriculum, faculty, and resources.

The review of program(s) should consist of a narrative report which:

  1. describes all of the graduate and undergraduate degree programs offered,

  2. analyzes their strengths and weaknesses, and

  3. proposes actions to improve the programs.

This narrative should be a brief self-examination of the degree programs offered, but not of the department as a whole. Detailed information should be placed in appendices. The body of the report should be 20 to 40 pages plus appendices. The Vice President of Academic Affairs will notify departments of the programs and timetable for review. The department will submit 12 copies of the completed report to the Dean who will forward copies to the Office of Academic Affairs for distribution to the University Assessment Committee.

The following pages provide the guidelines for preparation of the comprehensive program review.

I. Relationship of the Academic Unit to the College and University Mission

Evaluate the program’s contributions to the College and to the University. In this section, include the following information:

  1. Give the College mission statement, relating it to the University Mission Statement.

  2. Give the mission of your unit, relating it to both the University mission statement and the College mission statement.

II. Relationship to Other Programs

  1. Describe the links between this program and others within the department, the college and the university. Include such issues as shared requirements, interdisciplinary activities, and so on.

  2. Discuss the relationship between your unit and other units which may require courses from your unit – for instance, for minors and for content course for teacher training.

  3. Discuss the extent to which students from other disciplines take courses in your field to satisfy GER requirements and how you think these courses are suitable for that purpose.

III. Student Demographics

For each academic program you offer, describe the students in the program.

  1. Describe the quality of their academic preparation for the degree.

  2. What is the student demand for the program?

  3. How is the information on students made available to faculty and used in planning the curriculum?

  4. Provide five year enrollment and graduation figures.

IV. Program Goals and Curriculum

  1. List the goals, expectations, or desired learning outcomes of the program, telling what students are expected to know and what skills they are expected to demonstrate. For reference, Expected Outcomes for All Tech Graduates are included on the Curricula Effectiveness Survey as part of Appendix A.

  2. Describe how the above goals are communicated to faculty and students – Indicate how faculty are involved in the development of these outcomes and how these outcomes are communicated to faculty and students through courses, presentations, organizations, etc. If external stakeholders are involved in the development process, please describe.

  3. For each academic program you offer, explain how the curriculum reflects program goals. In your description, focus on the structure of the curriculum, which may include the following items:

    • Explain how the major is organized: Are there core courses that all majors take? Does the curriculum have options within it?

    • Explain how major-area courses at various levels – freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior – are designed to build on each other and how the content and difficulty of the courses differs at the four levels. If there are prerequisites for courses, explain the rationale for those prerequisites. Explain the extent to which students in the program share learning experiences in their major fields. Explain how the program is designed to allow or enable the students to learn together.

    • Explain which courses in the major that are designed specifically to address writing skills and knowledge of technology.

    • Does the curriculum have a culminating experience such as a capstone course, comprehensive exam, research project, or dissertation? If so, what is the content and focus?

V. Documentation

  1. Describe the process used to regularly monitor and assess the quality of the program relative to the overall goals of the program and the learning outcomes. Identify the stakeholders and how and when they are consulted.

  2. Present evidence of the extent to which the curriculum/program/major field goals are being met. List the sources of evidence, both quantitative and qualitative. Suggested measures for evaluating academic programs include the following: (NOTE: All may not be applicable to your academic unit):

    • senior projects or theses for undergraduate programs,

    • standardized tests,

    • comprehensive oral and written examinations,

    • analyses of theses,

    • portfolios,

    • completion rates,

    • graduate school attendance rates,

    • external review of theses/dissertations,

    • annual review of student progress, especially for graduate students,

    • exit interviews and graduating surveys,

    • external awards and accomplishments and competitions,

    • student satisfaction levels,

    • job placement rates,

    • evaluations by employers,

    • follow-up studies of alumni,

    • assessment reports or minutes from advisory boards or other external review agencies such as previous SACSCOC Assessments.

  3. Critically analyze/review information and data collected about the curriculum. Identify strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for this curriculum. Report strengths, weaknesses and opportunities identified. Present your analysis of this data in the text; include the specific evidence in the Appendix.

VI. Prior Assessment and Development of the Program

  1. Describe how assessment results have been used in the recent past to improve the program goals, learning outcomes, curriculum, faculty, or resources.

  2. Report the implications of the findings, particularly as they relate to needed changes in the curriculum.

  3. Describe how you will use the information you have collected and analyzed, outlining changes to be made based on the evidence collected; such changes might include developing new courses, deleting courses, adding special topics, etc.

  4. If your academic unit teaches courses used to satisfy the General Education Requirements at Louisiana Tech University, describe in adequate detail the measures your unit and/or the University are using to evaluate the skills and knowledge added by these courses. NOTE: For this purpose, use Appendix B, Assessment of General Education Requirement Courses.

VII. Faculty

The intent of this section is to tie faculty to unit goals and discuss means of maintaining faculty expertise and quality.

  1. List the major subject subdivisions in your program, listing the faculty who teach in those areas.

    For each faculty member listed above

    • Indicate if faculty member is full time or part time

    • List the highest degree attained, the name of the university awarding the degree, and the field in which the degree was awarded.

    • If the faculty member teaching undergraduate courses does not have a masters degree with 18 graduate semester hours in the teaching field, briefly describe outstanding professional experience and demonstrated contributions to the teaching discipline.

  2. Describe the mechanisms used in your unit to ensure that each faculty member is “providing quality instruction for all classes assigned.” Such mechanisms would include unit level seminars and meetings devoted to teaching and curriculum development, attending faculty development activities presented by the Center for Educational Excellence, attending subject area conferences, attending conferences and workshops focused on teaching, and competing for Summer Research Grants and Instructional Innovation Grants.

VIII. Faculty/Student Contact

  1. Describe any activities which promote student-faculty interaction, such as organizations, formal meetings, and informal counseling and other contacts.

  2. If faculty serve as advisors, describe how faculty are trained to be advisors in the program. If not, describe how advising occurs in the unit.

Faculty and Support

  1. Identify the facilities (classroom, laboratory, studio) and equipment available to the program.

  2. Report all financial support for the program, including operating funds, travel funds, equipment funds, support from student fees, funds for assistantships and fellowships, funds for student workers, and grant/gift income. Provide a three year summary and a projection for the coming year.

X. Program Strengths and Weaknesses

Considering all of the above sections on students, program goals and organization, and faculty expertise, assess the program strengths and weaknesses.

  • Identify areas of particular strength in program make-up, students, and faculty. Refer to information documented in this report.

  • Identify areas that need improvement, again with specific reference to information given/documented in this report.

XI. Future Actions to Improve the Program

Project any contemplated changes over the next two years to improve the program. Any changes should be those which can be achieved by the present or realistically-projected additional resources; any improvement dependent on additional resources should have those resources fully explained. Such resources might include increased enrollment, realistic changes in faculty, expanded budgets, higher admission standards, university recruiting changes, and grants or other outside funding that might be received.

This section should be grounded on the analysis in the earlier sections of this document.

Appendix A

Expected Outcomes for All Tech Graduates

This “inventory of skills expected to be taught in university courses” was compiled by the Curricula Effectiveness Council and approved by the Council of Academic Deans and Administrative and Planning Council. GER courses were surveyed in 1998 to determine the extent to which skills/outcomes were addressed. The survey instrument may be used in individual classes for assessment of achievement of expected skills/outcomes.

Curricula Effectiveness Survey (noting Expected Outcomes) is attached.

Appendix B

Assessment of General Education Requirement Courses

The Board of Regents lists the following skills to be developed through the GER courses:

  • to communicate effectively in oral and written English;

  • to read with comprehension;

  • to reason abstractly and think critically;

  • to understand numerical data and statistics;

  • to understand the scientific method;

  • to be familiar with key technological applications of the basic sciences;

  • to learn independently;

  • to recognize and appreciate cultural diversity;

  • to understand the nature and value of the fine and performing arts;

  • to develop a personal value system while retaining a tolerance for those of others; and

  • to understand the American political and economic system.

From that list, the Regents generated specific area requirements. From those area requirements, Louisiana developed it own version of the GER and the areas/courses to be used to satisfy those requirements.

GER Courses
Board of Regents’ Minimum Louisiana Tech University

English — 6 hours
6 hours composition

English — 6 hours
6 hours composition

Mathematics — 6 hours
beginning at a level no lower than college algebra

Mathematics — 6 hours
101 or above + 3 hours

Natural Sciences — 9 hours

Natural Sciences– 9 hours
Must include both physical and biological sciences with at least 6 hours from a two-quarter sequence
Biological:  Biological Sciences

Arts — 3 hours

Arts — 3 hours
Art 290: Art Appreciation
Music 290: Music Appreciation
Speech 290: Theatre Appreciation
HPE 280: Dance Appreciation

Humanities — 9 hours
3 at sophomore or above

Humanites — 12 hours
History** – any 3 hours
Literature** – any 3 hour literature class
Speech Communication*

** Minimum 3 hours required from each of these 3 areas:
Three hours at the sophomore level or above from one of the following areas:
Foreign Languages – 200 level or above
Philosophy – any course
English – 200 level or above

Social Studies — 6 hours

Social Studies — 9 hours
From a minimum of 2 disciplines:
Anthropology, Economics, Geography, Political Science, Psychology, Sociology

Computer Literacy
Requirements to be determined by each institution

Computer Literacy — Curriculum chosen by the student must provide basic instruction in and/or use of computer technology.

 Total Hours: 39

Total Hours: 45

The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) now requires that General Education courses be specifically evaluated as part of the SACSCOC re-accreditation process. To satisfy this requirement, please submit the following information:

  1. Give the Mission Statement for your academic unit, which must include a statement about the unit’s teaching of GER courses.

  2. List the courses in your academic unit that are typically used to satisfy a Louisiana Tech University GER requirement.

  3. For these courses, individually or in groups (if they are used to satisfy the same GER requirement), list the Expected Outcomes, those skills the course is to develop. For those skills, use the Regents’ list on p. 1.

  4. For these courses, tell how your academic unit determines that those skills are being taught in the courses (such items as syllabi that list Expected Outcomes and Catalog course descriptions).

  5. For these courses, tell how your academic unit internally documents that these skills have been transmitted to the student (such evaluation methods as standardized tests, written essays, final portfolios, oral presentations, research papers, and other teacher and peer assessments methods, as would apply).

  6. For these courses, tell how your academic unit externally documents that these skills have been transmitted to the student (such evaluation methods such as feedback from other academic units, standardized university-level testing, outside reviewers or other assessments methods, as would apply).

  7. Tell how the assessment results discussed in #5 and #6 are used in the annual academic unit plan to improve the GER courses taught in the unit (such possible improvements as changes in course content, textbooks, etc.).