3.4 Academic Program Review

The Academic Program Review (APR) provides academic departments and programs with the opportunity to assess the quality of their teaching, research, and service/engagement activities, as appropriate for the department and/or program. Further, the APRs evaluate the effectiveness of their use of resources and determine their progress toward meeting the unit’s, college’s, and University of Delaware’s goals.  If a department or program regularly undergoes an accreditation process, that accreditation can simultaneously be used to fulfill the department or program APR requirement. If all three areas are not addressed in the accreditation, the program or department must meet that requirement independently of the accreditation report.

The APR process includes both self-study and external review. It encourages planning within the unit and can strengthen the connection between the planning agendas and practices of individual units with those of their college and the university as a whole. Broadly, departments and programs may use APR’s to improve their function via:

  1. Assessment and progress in achieving the milestones of a unit’s strategic plan. If a unit does not have a strategic plan, it can be used to build one.
  2. Direction for hiring plans, budget setting, resource allocation, and development priorities.
  3. Analysis of curriculum effectiveness and its impact on students.
  4. Assessment of faculty productivity, as a whole, to allow a candid appraisal of the unit and consideration of areas of strength and improvement. Further it can re-evaluate workload policies and assignments of the department as a whole.
  5. External review of the unit to assess past success and potential future directions.

Academic Program Review (APR) is a function of the Office of the Provost in conjunction with the University Faculty Senate and is coordinated by the deputy provost for academic affairs. The provost and the Faculty Senate must jointly select units for review. Units are scheduled to be reviewed once every seven years. The review process should be collaborative with frequent conversations between the department, college, and the Office of the Provost. The deputy provost for academic affairs, in conjunction with the Faculty Senate Academic Priorities and Presidential Advisory Committee, will keep a master list of units to be reviewed. The master list will be maintained and updated in a directory shared with the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and will also be posted on the Office of the Provost website. Prior to the beginning of each fall and spring semester, the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness confirms with the unit leader and the dean of the appropriate college their participation in the self-study in the following semester.

It is crucially important that all faculty members in an academic unit be able to verify easily all information about their own achievements in scholarship and those of their colleagues before such information is used to evaluate their academic unit.  Therefore, neither Academic Analytics nor any other database which is not readily accessible by all faculty members at the University of Delaware shall be used in the evaluation of academic units, including as a component of the data used during an Academic Program Review process. (March 2019)

The Office of the Provost website will maintain guidelines on the recommended process which academic departments and programs should follow.  It will be the responsibility of the Office of the Provost in conjunction with the Faculty Senate’s Academic Priorities and Presidential Advisory Committee (APPA) to review these recommended procedures every two years. Other Faculty Senate responsibilities will also include: 1) The Committee on Committees and Nomination will select one reviewer from the University of Delaware Faculty, 2) Within 30 days of the Provost’s receipt of the external reviewers’ report, APPA will receive and review the document and provide a written report to the Provost, and 3) after the Provost receives the external reviewers’ report and response letters (including the APPA letter), he/she may schedule a meeting with APPA once a semester to review the reports (with emphasis on academic program assessment) and provide any independent recommendations.

(revised 2/2020)