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Academic Affairs

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Introduction

State law (see Texas Administrative Code in the Appendices) requires that all public doctoral programs and stand-alone master’s programs be externally reviewed on a 10-year cycle. Texas A&M University has elected to review all degree programs, including bachelor’s degrees, within the scope of the Academic Program Review (APR). Programs reviewed by an external accrediting body are not part of the formal APR process described here. However, the findings of any external accrediting body should be submitted to the Provost’s office as evidence of compliance with Texas Administrative Code for the accredited program.

The APR process, coordinated in the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, aligns with, and complements, existing measures for assessment and quality enhancement. It facilitates discussion about change and strategies for improvement, and it provides the basis for making strategic decisions based on an extensive review from various constituents. APR is an opportunity to realign actions with current priorities of the university, colleges, departments, and programs as these are articulated in mission statements and strategic plans. APR underpins the process of achieving the university’s goal of continuously improving the quality of all academic programs in the pursuit of excellence.
 

APR Administrative Team

 

The APR Administrative Team provides a university perspective for review teams and programs undergoing review.

  • DR. ALAN SAMS

    Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs
    (979) 845-4016
    asams@tamu.edu

  • DR. ALICIA M. DORSEY

    Associate Vice President for Academic Effectiveness and Planning, and SACSCOC Accreditation Liaison
    (979) 845-4016
    amdorsey@tamu.edu

  • DR. FUHUI TONG

    Interim Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate and Professional School
    (979) 845-4016
    fuhuitong@tamu.edu

  • DR. TIMOTHY P. SCOTT

    Vice Provost for Student Success
    (979) 845-4016
    t-scott@tamu.edu

  • DR. NK ANAND

    Vice President for Faculty Affairs
    (979) 845-4274
    nkanand@tamu.edu

  • MS. BETTYANN C. ZITO

    APR Coordinator
    Office of the Provost
    (979) 845-4016
    apr@tamu.edu

Responsibilities


Office of the Provost 

The Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs oversees the APR process. 

  • Approving nominations of external reviewers
  • Hosting entry and exit meetings with members of the External Review Team
  • Hosting the post-review meeting
  • Submitting the Institutional Response to the THECB

The Associate Vice President for Academic Effectiveness & Planning is the primary point of contact for all review activities.
  • Coordinating the 10-year review cycle in consultation with the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  • Assisting with self-study development
  • Reviewing self-studies for feedback and final approval before distribution
  • Preparing Institutional Response in collaboration with program(s), college(s) leadership, and the APR Administrative Team

The Associate Provost and Dean of the Graduate & Professional School and Vice Provost for Student Success work with the Office of the Provost to provide support and guidance to programs undergoing review. They help ensure that reviews of programs and other educational and teaching priorities, faculty expertise and research priorities, and service and outreach programs are appropriate to the individual program undergoing review.

The APR Coordinator in the Office of the Provost provides logistical support for the review. The APR Coordinator works directly with programs undergoing review to assist with preparations for the review and with monitoring progress throughout the entire review cycle.  The specific responsibilities of the coordinator include:
  • Assisting with logistical arrangements
  • Scheduling academic program review dates in consultation with the program
  • Scheduling all meetings involving the APR Administrative Team
  • Contacting potential reviewers on behalf of the Provost
  • Facilitating external review team lodging and travel

 

The College(s)

 

The college dean's responsibilities include:

  • Approving the program’s nomination of peer reviewers
  • Reviewing and approving the self-study
  • Meeting with the External Review Team during the site visit
  • Participating in the post-review meeting with the APR Administrative Team
  • Approving follow-up correspondence from the program and monitoring strategies and outcomes in response to the APR and providing additional input from the college’s perspective.
     

All documentation must be reviewed and approved by the college dean before it is forwarded to the Provost Office.
 

The Degree Program

 

Program leadership has significant responsibilities in preparing for the review and in executing the visit. To assist with this effort, degree programs should closely follow the procedures outlined below.

Approximate Time Frame Responsibility Comments & Reference
12 months prior Attend APR Orientation Session  
10-12 months prior Choose review dates Selected in consultation with the dean’s office and members of the APR Administrative Team.
9 months prior Nominate Members for the External Review Team See “Nominating the External Review Team”
8 months prior Submit the “Program Overview” As the review team is finalized, the APR Coordinator will forward the “Program Overview” template to the program to complete and return. It should briefly cover the program overview and degrees offered. 
7-9 months prior Organize, Initiate, and Write Self Study See "Self Study"
2.5 months prior Submit Draft of Self-Study to the Dean then to the Associate Vice President for Effectiveness & Planning Submit a final draft of the Self-Study to the dean for review.  After dean’s approval, submit to the Associate Vice President for Effectiveness & Planning for review and feedback. 
2 months prior Prepare for Site Visit Develop Itinerary - See “Sample Itinerary”

Reserve Meeting Rooms - Reserve meeting spaces for meetings except for the Exit meeting. If available, the degree may set up a room to allow as office space for the reviewers.

Arrange Transportation – Arrange for transportation needs between the airport and hotel as well as any other transportation needs during the review.

Arrange Campus and Facility Tours - Tours should be given of any major facilities, centers, labs, etc. associated with the review.

Arrange Meals for Review Team - Arrange lunches for the review team.
1 month prior Submit Final Self-Study to the Associate Vice President for Academic Effectiveness & Planning   
  Facilitate the Site Visit  
21 days after site visit Receive Site Visit Report  
30 days after receipt of review team's report Prepare and Submit Program Response to the External Review Team’s Report The program should receive the final report from the review team within 21 days after the site visit and has 30 days to prepare a draft response for the dean’s review.  The College will review and consult with the program as needed before submitting the response to the Provost through the Associate Vice President for Academic Effectiveness & Planning.
Approx. 90 days after review Attend and Lead Post Review Meeting The Post Review meeting is scheduled by the APR Coordinator. Unless otherwise approved, only the Provost, APR administrative team, dean, and DH/PC attend this meeting.

 

The External Review Team

The external review team participates in and conducts the site visit. The role of the review team is to ensure the integrity of the academic program review, provide valid feedback regarding the status of the program, and make recommendations for improvement. The external review members will receive a $1,500 professional fee and will be reimbursed for all travel-related expenses by the Office of the Provost upon completion and transmittal of the final report to the Provost.

External Review Team Charge

  • Based on the information provided in the self-study report and gathered by the review team during its campus visit, what are the programs’ overall strengths and weaknesses?
  • How well do the programs’ focus and learning outcomes align with the strategic academic goals and priorities of the department, college(s), and those of Texas A&M University?
  • How would you compare the program(s) reviewed with those offered by peers? Specifically, do the curriculum, the identified learning outcomes, and overall program outcomes align with similar programs offered at peer institutions? If not, are unique characteristics of the program(s) reviewed a strength or area of concern?
  • With only current resources or a modest infusion of new ones, what specific recommendations could improve the programs’ performance, marginally or significantly?


External Team will be asked to complete an External Review Team Form that asks about each section covered in the self-study

 

Academic Review Process

Degree programs scheduled for an Academic Program Review are contacted approximately one year in advance of their review to allow ample preparation time. The process is initiated by participating in a mandatory APR Orientation session approximately 12 months prior to the beginning of the academic year in which the review will occur.

The Academic Program Review process is outlined in detail below. The process can be conceptualized into five stages:  

  1. Nominating members for the external review team
  2. Preparing the self-study
  3. Establishing the itinerary for the on-site visit
  4. Generating the response document
  5. Attending post-review meeting and reporting.

Appendices