Guidelines for Conducting Five‐Year Reviews of Academic Programs*
The UW-Madison Academic Program Review Guidelines primarily serve the regular ten year review cycle for majors, named options, and certificates. Initial five year program reviews should follow the UW-Madison Guidelines for Conducting Five-Year Reviews of Academic Programs.
Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) has created a new Program Review KB Topic Library on its new APIR KnowledgeBase site. The content formerly housed on this KB has transitioned to the updated document(s). Please refer to this library for documents that provide an overview of program review, the step-by-step process for five- and ten-year reviews, program review templates (e.g., committee charge memo, self-study report, review committee report, etc.), select resources to support program review, and school/college and university program review contacts.
This new APIR KB site is replacing the former Courses and Academic Programs (aka, Vesta) site in a staged transition. (Note: The Lumen KB remains separate and active and is available from the Quick Link in the left navigation of the APIR KB site.) This new APIR KB will include documents related to academic program planning (degrees/majors, named options, certificates), courses, program review, and academic policy.
Document History: Adopted by UAPC April 18, 2013. Revised to reflect changes in UW System/Regent policy; as of August 2012 the participation of System Administration in the five
year review was no longer required by Regent policy; modified from a document adopted by UAPC action March 18, 2010. Scope Degree/major programs: The first review of a new degree/major program is required
approximately five years after implementation. Typically, these reviews are conducted under the auspices of the school/college dean, with a prompt from the Office of the Provost. If at the time of approval specific stipulations are made about the five‐year review by governance groups, a reminder of those stipulations will be provided with the notice to the dean that it is time to initiate the review. These guidelines are
intended primarily to describe the five‐year review of degree/major programs; however they
may provide useful guidance for reviews of named options and certificates. Named Options: Five‐year reviews are also required for named options of degree/major
programs. Typically, these reviews are conducted under the auspices of the school/college
dean, with a prompt from the Office of the Provost. If at the time of approval specific
stipulations are made about the five‐year review by governance groups, a reminder of those
stipulations will be provided with the notice to the dean that it is time to initiate the review. Certificate programs: In addition, five‐year reviews are required for certificate programs. Like reviews of named options, the first reviews of certificate programs usually are conducted under the auspices of the school/college dean, with a prompt from the Office of the Provost. If at the time of approval, specific stipulations are made about the five‐year review, a reminder of those stipulations will be provided with the prompt to the dean that it’s time to initiate the review. Also consult the Guidelines for Certificates for information about the five‐year review of certificates. Purpose The general purposes of the five‐year review are to: Determine whether the goals and objectives as stated in the original program proposal were met and evaluate if the program is meeting standards of quality that are expected based on the original proposal. Confirm that the program is important to be delivered at UW‐Madison and understand the program’s relationship to other programs at UW‐Madison. Are other programs positively or negatively impacted? Are connections with other programs as planned in the original proposal developing as envisioned? Determine if the resource implications of continuing the program are appropriate. Offer the program faculty, the dean(s), and/or provost any advice for program improvement and summarize any actions for follow‐up or attention. Process At the time of initial program approval and implementation, a date is set for review approximately five years after implementation. Acknowledgement of and planning for the review is part of the program proposal process. At the five year mark, the provost charges the dean with initiating the review and requests that the program faculty conduct a self‐study. The self‐study should focus on the purposes of the review stated above, reference the original proposal, and follow additional guidelines for UW‐Madison self‐studies. If the program faculty have recently conducted a program review for another purpose ‐ a departmental review or accreditation – which included a preparation of a self‐study that substantially addresses the program under review that document may be used as the self‐study. The provost’s memo sets a timeline for completion of the self‐study completion, usually within six to twelve months. Program faculty are responsible for completing the self‐study. They are invited and welcome to seek advice or supporting information from the school/college dean’s office, from the office of Academic Planning and Institutional Research, and from other appropriate units on campus. When the self‐study is completed, the program faculty formally endorse the document and forward it to the dean. (In rare circumstances, program faculty may decide that the program should not be continued either before preparing the self‐study, or in the process of conducting it; in such cases they may instead a request to discontinue the program.) When the dean receives the self‐study, (s)he conducts a preliminary school/college review of the self‐study. Typically, this review is comprised of a discussion of the self‐study at the school/college academic planning council, or equivalent governance body. That discussion should confirm that the self‐study accurately represents the program, that it serves the purposes of five‐year review, and that the program has school/college support. Alternatively, if problematic issues are evident, the dean may choose to conduct an in depth review at the school/college level, or may request a delay in the process to address an issue within the program, or the dean may choose to recommend that the program be discontinued. When consideration at the school/college level is completed to the satisfaction of the dean, the dean forwards the self‐study to the provost. The self‐study is to be accompanied by a cover memo that documents the school/college level review. This memo should summarize program strengths and weaknesses and any future directions. If serious resource issues are a prominent feature in the self‐study (beyond typical of what all programs are dealing with), the dean’s comments should provide enough information and context for the review committee to evaluate those issues. The self‐study and the dean’s cover memo are sent from the dean to the provost (with a copy to the director of Academic Planning and Institutional Research and for graduate programs to the dean of the Graduate School). The provost, working with the director of APIR, convenes and formally charges a review committee. The committee is comprised of at least three faculty members and two consultants: A chair, who is a member of the UAPC (faculty or academic staff appointee) For graduate programs, a member of the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee One or two provost’s appointees who are not active members of the program faculty. These appointees are usually a faculty member who is a recent UAPC member, or who was a member of the review committee that reviewed the corresponding new program proposal, or whose expertise is related to the academic program being reviewed. A member of the academic planning council of the program’s school/college; this member is optional and is included at the discretion of the dean A representative of the program faculty, who serves as a consultant and who answers questions and provides information about the program The director of Academic Planning and Institutional Research, who serves as a consultant and who provides continuity across five‐year reviews and who can provide additional information about the program In addition to a charge memo, the committee is provided with the cover letter from the dean reporting on the school/college review, the self‐study, and the original program proposal as approved by the Board of Regents. The committee is also invited to request additional information from the consultant members – the member of the program faculty and the director of Academic Planning and Institutional Research. The work of the review committee is conducted under the leadership of the committee chair, who calls the meetings, sets the plan for the review, determines agendas for meetings, and works with the other committee members to draft a report. Typically, the committee report addresses the program in relation to the purposes of program review listed above. The report describes the strengths and weakness of the program, offers advice to the program or the dean or the provost for improving the program, and specifies any necessary follow up action. In rare circumstances, the program committee may deem that discontinuation is an appropriate recommendation. The completed report is sent by the committee chair to the provost. The report of the review committee is circulated on behalf of the provost by the director of APIR to the dean for review and comment before being submitted to governance committees. For graduate programs, the review report is presented to the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee by the GFEC representative. GFEC discusses the materials. The formal GFEC action is to accept the report and endorse the review committee’s recommendations. The GFEC may choose to provide additional advice to the program beyond that outlined in the program review committee report. The GFEC and/or Graduate School may choose to reject the report and substitute another course of action, although this is likely to be a rare occurrence. For all programs, the review report is presented to the UAPC by the chair of the review committee (a UAPC member). A program representative and the dean are invited to attend the UAPC meeting. The formal UAPC action is to accept the review committee report and endorse their recommendations. The UAPC may choose to accept the report and endorse their recommendations. The UAPC may provide additional advice to the program beyond that outlined in the program review committee report. The UAPC may also choose to reject the report and substitute another course of action, although this is likely to be a rare occurrence.
Expectations are that if controversial recommendations are made by the review committee, GFEC, or the UAPC, interested parties will work together in good faith towards a resolution that serves the needs of students and the program faculty and staff, as well as broader institutional considerations.
To conclude the program review, the provost will formally send the report and recommendations to the dean and program faculty and with thanks for their participation in the process. The program enters the regular 10‐year cycle for program review unless there are recommendations for an intermediate review in a shorter time frame. In annual reports on program review, the provost notifies UW System Administration that the five‐year review for the new program has been completed.