Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

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Department Review Guidelines

In accordance with the Utah State Board of Regents Policy R411, institutional program reviews at Utah State University will be periodically conducted to improve educational quality. Such improvement should occur through (a) the recognition of effective departmental activities, and (b) the identification and modification of ineffective activities. Program review recommendations will focus on the quality and effectiveness of each major program of study within the department as well as teaching, research, extension, and professional service activities in the department.

Major Program Review Activities

The major data sources for each departmental review will be:

  1. A department self-study
  2. An evaluation of the department self study and on-site department visit by a review committee or an accreditation team

Administrative Responsibility for Department Reviews

Department reviews will be administered by the Provost's Office, with supportive services by other units where appropriate.


Frequency of Evaluations

All teaching, research, extension, and professional service activities in each department at Utah State University will be subject to review on a departmental basis at least once every seven years. When another national accreditation process or federal program review occurs, the results of that evaluation may be used in lieu of this additional review to avoid duplication of effort and expense. In the latter case, the Department Head will work closely with the Provost to insure that the self-study results from a national accreditation will meet the goals of the department review as required by Regent's Policy R411.


Procedures for Department Program Review

1. The Department Self-Study

The department self-study is the essence of the review process. The self-study will constitute an in-depth self-appraisal of the department's activities by both faculty and students based on continuing strategic planning, goal formulation, assessment, and decision-making based upon assessment outcomes. In cases where deficiencies exist, the department identifies courses of action to remedy deficiencies, or if major departures from standard indicators of productivity exist, the department justifies these departures. The department may find updated and useful information at the Office of Analysis, Assessment and Accreditation (http://aaa.usu.edu) when preparing the self study (the Board of Regents request data over the most recent five-year period).

The department self-study should include at least the following:

  1. Department Profile
    • Mission and goals
    • Program descriptions
    • Degrees offered; undergraduate and graduate
    • Alignment of programs and degrees with department mission
    • Support function or interaction with programs
    • Outreach efforts
  2. Faculty
    • Headcount and full-time equivalent faculty
    • Faculty profiles (include faculty CVs in an appendix)
    • Faculty teaching loads
    • Faculty research and scholarly productivity
    • Adjunct faculty and graduate assistants FTE
    • Faculty-student ratios
    • Faculty credentials, rank, and diversity information
    • Student credit hours produced per full-time equivalent faculty
  3. Staff
  4. Students
    • Admission standards
    • Student credit hours generated
    • Number of majors in program
    • Enrollment and attrition trends
    • Graduation and retention rates
    • Student placement rates and salary data if available
    • Transfer data
  5. Program Costs
    • Instructional costs
    • Support costs
  6. Program Support
    • Facilities and equipment
    • Professional development
  7. Program Assessment *
    • Examples of goals, measurements, and impact
    • Strengths, weaknesses, and recommendations

*Program assessment is of particular importance to the Board of Regents

2. The Review Committee

The Review Committee will consist of at least one Utah State University faculty member and two, off-campus, nationally recognized experts in the department discipline under review. Off-campus committee members will be selected from outside the state of Utah and responsibility for selection of all Review Committee members will reside within the Office of the Provost. Review committee members will not have close personal or working ties to department faculty members.

The responsibilities of the Review Committee will be to:

  1. Read and evaluate the department self-study
  2. Spend at least two days on campus meeting with department faculty, students, staff, administration, the dean, and others deemed necessary to make a thorough assessment of the department
  3. Make comparative judgments between USU and peer institutions relating to the department's curriculum, faculty, students, administration, and program resources
  4. Submit a report to the department within six weeks of the visit to campus

All members of the Review Committee will analyze the department self-study, additional data gathered, and draft a report making recommendations related to program improvement, continuation and discontinuation. The report of the Review Committee will be submitted to the department and dean for comment. The Review Committee will then address comments by the department and dean in a final version of the Review Committee Report. The final report of the Review Committee will be submitted to the Provost, with copies to the Department and to the Dean of the College.

Following completion of the final report from the Review Committee, a summary of the department review will be prepared by the USU Office of Analysis, Assessment and Accreditation for the Provost. The Provost will submit the department review summary to the Board of Trustees for comment. A revised summary report addressing Board of Trustees comments will then be submitted by the Provost to the State Board of Regents.


Timeline of Department Review


September Notify department of review requirement
February 1Due date for completion of Department Self-Study; self-study is submitted to the Review Committee
March 15 - April 1Department visit by Review Committee
May 1Report from Review Committee sent to department and dean
May 15Due date for comments on the Review Committee Report from department and dean
June 1Due date for final Review Committee Report submission to Provost
JulyProvost submits department review summary to the Board of Trustees for comment
August or SeptemberProvost's Office submits final department review summary to the Board of Regents