Academic Affairs: Academic Department / Program Review Process and Procedures

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The process and procedures defined herein replace the processes and procedures for annual and seven-year department/program reviews.

Annually, Institutional Research will provide academic departments/programs with the Public Accountability Matrix and the Strategic Accountability Matrix. The matrices form the basis for annual planning and update meetings between the department/program and the appropriate college dean.

Each non-accredited academic department/program will undergo formal review at least once every seven years. Where applicable, a joint undergraduate and graduate review will occur simultaneously. In the academic year following initial accreditation or reaffirmation, each accredited program will submit their accreditation self-study, final reviewer report, revised assessment plans, and a brief internal report to Academic Affairs. Institutional review of accredited programs will begin at the Dean response step as outlined below.

Exceptions to the approved review schedule may be made by the Provost.

Review Purpose and Coordination

The academic department/program review process represents a peer assessment of a program’s university citizenship including its quality and strategic centrality. The Office of Academic Affairs (AA Rep) will coordinate the department/program review process.

The Self Study

The self-study should provide a concise narrative using the format contained in the Academic Department/Program Self Study Template.

The External Consultant

An external consultant will be used for all department/program reviews. Each department/program will submit to the AA Rep a list of at least three potential external reviewers. These potential external reviewers should hold or have held the position of department chair or an administrative position above chair and should be employed outside the state of Wisconsin. The final selection of the specific consultant will be made by the AA Rep.

The consultant will visit UW-Eau Claire during which s/he will interview members of the department/program, the dean and other appropriate administrators, groups of students and alumni. The external consultant will prepare a written report and submit that report to the AA Rep within 30 days of the visit.

The Internal Review Committee

The AA Rep shall appoint a three- to five-member Internal Review Committee (IRC) for each program undergoing review. In naming members of the IRC, the AA Rep will give consideration to lists of nominees submitted by the academic deans and the program undergoing review. Whenever possible, the Review Committee should include an individual from a related academic area, an unrelated academic area, and the immediate prior Review Committee.

Review Procedures

Review Orientation

In the year of the review, the department/program current self-study will be provided to the external consultant. A full set of orientation materials will be provided to the IRC, including but not limited to the following:

  1. The Public Accountability Matrix and Strategic Accountability Matrix for each of the years since the immediately-prior review
  2. The department/program current self-study
  3. The Academic Department/Program Review Form from the immediately-prior review, including any and all attached narratives
  4. The department response from the immediately-prior review, if any
  5. The Provost recommendations from the immediately-prior review
  6. Any progress reports since the immediately-prior review

During orientation, both the IRC and external reviewer shall be advised as follows:

  1. Limit recommendations to the primary goals that are attainable and doable by the program/department
  2. Recognize that every recommendation must be addressed by the program/department.

Review Committee Evidence Gathering

At a minimum and independently from one another, the IRC and the external consultant are to conduct separate
interviews with the following individuals or groups:

  1. department chair/program director and/or coordinating committee for interdisciplinary programs
  2. instructional staff (typically Review Committees have met separately with the tenured and the nontenured instructional staff)
  3. students in the program(s)
  4. appropriate dean(s) and other administrators

Additionally, but at the discretion of the IRC or external consultant, brief questionnaires can be sent to students majoring in the department/program and to alumni of the department/program.

Review Reports and Routing

The IRC will submit the Academic Department/Program Review Form and associated narrative (if any) to the AA Rep by the end of the fall semester. The AA Rep shall attach the external consultant’s report to this same form.

Program Response

The AA Rep will forward the review materials to the department/program. The department/program will complete the appropriate section of the review form and submit it and any associated narrative to the AA Rep.

Dean Response

The AA Rep will forward the review materials to the college dean. The college dean will complete the appropriate section of the review form and submit it and any associated narrative to the AA Rep and the chair/director. The dean is expected to provide narrative for any “Disagree” decision.

Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council) Recommendations

The AA Rep will distribute the review form and all attachments to the Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council, with a copy to the program). The program will be invited to meet with the Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council) to discuss the review. Afterwards the Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council) will complete the appropriate section of the review form and submit it and any associated narrative to the AA Rep.


The AA Rep will forward the review form and all attachments to the Provost. After reviewing the materials, the Provost and Associate Vice Chancellor will meet with the department chair/program director and appropriate dean. They will arrive at an agreement as to which recommendations can and should be implemented. The Provost will then forward a copy of the agreement to the Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council).

Progress Report

Two years subsequent to the review, the chair/director will submit a progress report to the Provost describing progress toward implementing the recommendations. Earlier submission may be required at the discretion of the Provost.

Review Timeline


Item Date Fall Semester – Department/Program Orientation Meeting
 - AA Rep distributes self-study format and appropriate data
 - Chairs attend meeting; gather evidence; begin self-study process
October Internal Review Committee Membership and External Consultant Suggestions
 - Departments contact potential nominees; determine willingness to serve
 - Sent to AA Rep
April 1 Selection of Internal Review Committee and external consultant
 - Formal appointment (and decline of services) letters sent by Provost May 15 Self-Study Completed
 - Sent electronically to AA Rep August 1


Review Orientation
 - Conducted by AA Rep; department chairs invited September Review Reports Due
 - Send electronically to AA Rep December 10 Response from Department to Review Reports
 - Sent electronically to AA Rep February 1 Recommendations from Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council)
 - Sent electronically to AA Rep Spring Provost meets with Chair/Dean/AA Rep Summer Provost Recommendations
 - Sent to department and Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council)  Summer


Provost “report back” to Academic Policies Committee (and/or Graduate Council) February


Department Progress Report Due
 - Sent electronically to AA Rep