Academic Program Review Procedures
Click here to download APR Procedures.
Mission Statement: The purpose of Academic Program Review is to evaluate a program’s alignment with and contribution to SMU’s Strategic Plan goals of enhanced academic quality and improved teaching and learning, while exercising responsible fiscal stewardship.
For the purposes of this document a program is a department or other unit that offers any SMU credit bearing credential: certificate, diploma or degree. These comprehensive reviews will consider all aspects of the program.
Program evaluation is overseen by the Office of the Provost through the Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) which consists of the Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness (chair), the Associate Provost for Faculty Affairs, the Associate Provost for Curricular Innovation and Policy, the Vice President for Research and the Dean of Graduate Studies, the Director for Institutional Research, and a faculty member from the Academic Policies Committee of the Faculty Senate as designated by the Faculty Senate. Administrative support is provided by administrative staff of the Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. APRC is assisted by a program review team drawn from the SMU faculty and external reviewer(s).
The objective is to review each program at SMU every seven years. Program evaluation will be conducted by APRC in conjunction with a review team and the relevant Associate Dean(s). Review team members serve for one year (and are eligible for up to two consecutive terms) and are appointed by APRC with input from the relevant school and college deans. Four-person review teams consist of two faculty members internal to the college/school and external to the department/program, one faculty member internal to SMU but outside the college/school, and 1 faculty member in the discipline under review but external to SMU. These reviewers are selected by APRC from a list of possible names provided by the relevant dean. At least one reviewer will have administrative experience.
Each review involves an eighteen-month process (see APR Time Table). The process is initiated when the program chair or director is notified of the upcoming review by the Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness. APRC will select the two internal members of the review team by the end of the first month. The list of names of the external reviewer(s) should be complete by the end of the second month. A timeline for the review including visits by the review team will be created by the Associate Provost for Institutional Planning and Effectiveness, the relevant associate dean(s), and the program chair or director no later than the end of the fifth month.
Over the eleven months starting from notification the program chair or director is responsible for preparing a program study (see Study Template). Before being distributed to the APRC the study must be approved by the appropriate Associate Dean. At the beginning of the twelfth month the program study will be distributed to the members of APRC and the review team. The review proper begins in the thirteenth month with a meeting between the members of APRC, the relevant associate dean(s), the internal members of the review team and the chair or director of the program.
By the end of the fourteenth month the review team will have completed its meetings with program constituents including tenured and tenure-track faculty, lecturers and adjuncts, staff, and graduate and undergraduate students. The internal and external members will write a report of their findings which will be submitted to APRC, the relevant associate dean(s), and the program chair/director no later than the midpoint of the fifteenth month. The program chair/director will have one week to write a response to the APR Report including corrections of factual errors.
The members of APRC, the relevant associate dean(s), and the program chair/director will then meet no later than the midpoint of the sixteenth month to discuss the reports and create an action plan in response to the findings. An official MOU will then be created between the Provost, relevant Dean, and program chair/director based on the action plan. The MOU must be completed no later than the midpoint of the seventeenth month.
Reviews are initiated in early August and early January so that three programs are reviewed each semester for a total of six annually.
One year later a short (one or two page) follow-up report will be sent by the program chair/director to APRC and the appropriate Associate Dean. A meeting may be called based on that report.
The report template and data source chart is designed so that programs know exactly what they are being asked to provide in the self-report and so that reviewers will have similar documents across all programs. Wherever possible, data will be provided from central sources to the Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness which will then make it available to the department for including in the final report. This saves program directors from having to work with many offices across campus to gather supporting data.
Click here to download template.
Reports are to be assembled in SMU’s Assessment software WEAVE, inside the Accreditation Module. Department chairs have access to WEAVE for annual program assessment work. The Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness creates a “project” for each report. Weave projects follow the report template. Click here to log into WEAVE.
Each department will submit the program review document, which will be reviewed using the attached rubric. The resulting analysis will be provided to the Deans, Vice Presidents, and the Provost to assist them in strategic decision-making and resource allocation.
Click here to download rubric.
The Office of Institutional planning and Effectiveness strives to conduct six academic program reviews each year. To accomplish that, they are organized into Fall and Spring reviews. The linked timelines illustrate the process for each of those.
Click here to download timeline.
In scheduling APRs, every attempt has been made to work with SMU schools to insure they are timed in a manageable way. Those programs which are accredited by an approved discipline specific accrediting agency do not undergo internal SMU program reviews. They do submit all accreditation reports and resulting correspondence to the office for central arching.
Click here to download SMU Calendar of Reviews.