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Academic Affairs

Academic Program Review


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 the 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 Executive Vice President, is an integral component of institutional effectiveness, which is defined as “the systematic, explicit, and documented process of measuring performance against mission in all aspects of an institution” and results in continuing improvement (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges, 7.1, Institutional Planning). APR 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. MARK H. WEICHOLD

    Interim Provost & Executive Vice President
    (979) 845-4016
    m-weichold@tamu.edu

  • DR. PATRICK LOUCHOUARN

    Interim Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs and Interdisciplinary Initiatives
    (979) 845-4016
    loup@tamu.edu

  • DR. KAREN L. BUTLER-PURRY

    Associate Provost for Graduate & Professional Studies
    (979) 845-3631
    klbutler@tamu.edu

  • DR. ANN L. KENIMER

    Associate Provost for Undergraduate Studies
    (979) 845-4016
    a-kenimer@tamu.edu

  • MS. BETTYANN C. ZITO

    APR Coordinator
    (979) 845-4016
    apr@tamu.edu

 

Responsibilities


The Office Provost and Executive Vice President

 

The Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President oversees the APR process. Responsibilities of the Office of the Provost Include:

  • Coordinating the 10-year review cycle in consultation with the Texas High Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  • Approving nominations of external reviewers
  • Facilitating entry and exit interviews during on-site reviews
  • Providing funding for most review-related expenses
  • Submitting the Institutional Response to the THECB
  • Approving and distributing 1- and 5-year status reports
  • Communicating results to the President of Texas A&M University
 

The APR Coordinator

 

The APR Coordinator in the Office of the Provost is the primary point of contact for all review activities The APR Coordinator works directly with degree 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:

  • Coordinating introductory meetings to initiate the review process
  • Scheduling academic program review dates in consultation with the degree program
  • Scheduling all meetings involving the APR Administrative Team
  • Extending formal invitations to potential reviewers on behlf of the Provost
  • Providing background material to deans, department heads/program chairs, and review teams
  • Reserving external review team lodging
  • Compiling a welcome packet with an itinerary for the external review team
 

The Offices of Graduate and Professional Studies and Undergraduate Studies

 

The Offices of Graduate and Professional Studies and Undergraduate Studies work with the Office of the Provost to provide support and guidance to degree programs undergoing review. They help ensure that reviews of degree programs and other educational and teaching priorities, faculty expertise and research priorities, and service and outreach programs are appropriate to the individual degree program undergoing review.
 

 

The College(s)

 

The college dean's responsibilities include:

  • Approving the degree program’s nomination of peer reviewers
  • Reviewing and approving the self-study
  • Meeting with the external review team on Monday
  • Participating in the exit meeting with the Provost and review team on Wednesday
  • Meeting, as appropriate, with the peer reviewers during the site visit
  • Participating in the post-review meeting with the APR Administractive Team
  • Approving follow-up correspondence from the degree program and monitoring strategies and outcomes in response to the APR.

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

 

 

The Degree Program

 

The degree program 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.

Months Prior
(10-12mo) Choose Review Dates Selected in consultation with APR Coordinator and dean’s office. The site visit begins Sunday and concludes Wednesday.
(9mo) Nominating Members for the External Review Team See “Nominating the External Review Team” pg 11.
(7-9mo) Submit the “Charge to the External Review Team” As the review team is finalized, the APR Coordinator will forward the “Charge to the External Review Team” template to the degree program to complete and return. It should briefly cover the degree program overview and degrees offered.
(7-8mo) Organize, Initiate, and write Self Study See “Preparing the Self-Study Document” pg 13.
(6mo) Communicate with the External Review Team After the review team is confirmed the Department Head or Program Chair (DH/PC) should communicate with the external review team about travel and timelines.
(2mo) Submit draft Self-Study & Prepare for Site Visit

Submit a final draft of the Self-Study to the dean and APR Coordinator for review.

Develop Itinerary - See “Sample Itinerary” pg 18.
Reserve Meeting Rooms - Reserve meeting spaces for all meetings with the exception of the Entry, Exit, and Post-Review meetings. If available, the degree program may set up a room to allow office space for the reviewers.
Arrange Transportation - Consult with reviewersfor transportation needs. Reviewers are also free to arrange their own travel but please be sure and advise the traveler that reimbursement will be processed after receipt of the final report may take 2-3 weeks.
Arrange Campus and Facility Tours - Tours should be given of any major facility, centers, labs, etc. associated with the review.
Arrange Meals & Reception for Review Team - See “Sample Itinerary” pg 18 and “Transportation, Meals and Lodging” pg 20 for more details. The APR Coordinator arranges breakfast only.

(1mo) Prepare for Site Visit Submit final self-study with dean’s signature of approval. The degree program will distribute the Self-Study report to faculty, staff and students (as appropriate). The APR Coordinator will distribute to the external reviewers, APR Administrative Team & upload to the APR website, http://apr.tamu.edu.

Months After
(1mo) Prepare & Submit Departmental/Program Response to the External Review Team’s Report The degree 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 review. The College will have an additional 30 days to review and consult with the degree program as needed before submitting the final response to the APR Coordinator.
(3mo) 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 DH/PC leads this meeting and outlines the proposed response to the peer review team.
Years After
 
(1yr) Prepare & Submit 1 Year Status Report The degree program submits a 1-year status report addressing actions discussed in the Post Review Meeting. The Provost’s office forwards to 1-year status report to the external reviewers for their information.
(5yr) Prepare & Submit 5 Year Status Report The degree program submits a 5-year status report on actions taken and results of changes implemented as a result of the APR as outlined in the Institutional Response



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 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 of the Provost.

External Review Team Charge

  • Based on the data/information provided in the self-study report or gathered by the external review team, what are the degree program’s overall strengths and weaknesses?
  • How well do the degree program’s strategic goals align with those of its college and with those of Texas A&M University?
  • How would you compare this degree program with its peers? Specifically, is the curriculum directly related and appropriate to the mission and goals of the institution?
  • What improvements (including student learning and faculty development) has the degree program made since the previous program review?
  • With only current resources or a modest infusion of new ones, what specific recommendations could improve the degree program’s performance, marginally or significantly?

In formulating their response, the review team members will address the items in the charge. Additionally, they will be asked to make specific recommendations that they believe should be addressed in a follow-up with the APR administrative team and college dean.

 

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 with an introductory meeting between the APR Coordinator, the degree program, and interested college representative to convey expectations and provide tools to prepare for review.

The Academic Program Review process is outlined in detail on the following pages. The process can be conceptualized into five stages:

  • Nominating members for the external review team
  • Preparing the self-study
  • Establishing the itinerary for the on-site visit
  • Generating the response document
  • Attending post-review meeting and reporting


Appendices

Self Study Documents