Policy on Program Review

(Senate: 7/3/73, 2/7/79, 8/19/81, 4/26/83, 1/19/93, 7/29/97, 11/23/99; President: 7/5/73, 2/27/79, 10/6/81, 5/5/83, 2/16/93, 12/4/97, 12/28/99; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01; 9/03)

Trustee Policy. Program Review on this campus has its origins in Chancellor's Office memorandum AP 71-32, "Performance Review of Existing Degree Major Programs," which requested that each campus "establish a formal performance review procedure for all existing degree programs on campus in order to assess periodically both the quantitative and qualitative viability of each undergraduate and graduate program in the total context of offerings." AP 71-32 was endorsed by the Educational Policies Committee of the Board of Trustees, and later by the Board of Trustees on July 14, 1971. Although initiated in the context of limited resources and impelled by externally defined quantitative criteria, the review process has matured into an intensive, quality oriented program of benefit to departments/divisions/schools, colleges, and the University alike.

Purpose of Program Review. The purpose of program review is to enable the University, its colleges and its departments/divisions/schools to effectively achieve their stated objectives, and to examine on a continuing basis the worthiness of these programs; in short, the purpose is to maintain and strengthen the quality of the University's curriculum. The priorities in program review center around the desire to provide a quality university-level program balanced with respect to the needs of society in general, needs of the urban community, professional preparation requirements, and student interest. Program review leads to informed recommendations related to program, faculty, and student needs; curricular planning, resource allocation, and management; and such matters as recognition of unique situations, the need for additional study or planning, augmentation, maintenance, consolidation or discontinuation of programs, and responses to the problem of diminution of available resources, while attempting to maintain and enhance program quality.

Inherent in program review are two assumptions:

  1. Program review is a judgmental process which uses both qualitative and quantitative data; it is comprehensive and intensive.
  2. Quality cannot be easily defined or simplistically evaluated. It emerges from honest professional discourse about the evaluation criteria that should be applied, changes in knowledge, the relationship of programs to each other, and the educational needs of students and the society at large.

Review Cycles. In accordance with the Trustees' resolution, each academic program must be reviewed qualitatively and quantitatively at least once every five years. The Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or designated subunit of that office will determine the specific review cycles for each department/division/school and interdisciplinary program by consultation with the administration of the colleges. In the selection of programs to be reviewed each year, related disciplines will be grouped to the extent possible and in such a manner that approximately one-fifth of the programs are reviewed each year over the review period. Care will be taken to schedule review of graduate programs at the same time as the review of the undergraduate program(s) within the same discipline, and to coordinate with accreditation cycles for the discipline. In the case of new programs, it should be expected that a developmental period of up to five years will be required to establish a valid measure of their productivity. The President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the Educational Policy Committee may request additional reviews of programs in any given academic year for purposes of planning or to satisfy a request from the Chancellor's Office or the Board of Trustees. Reviews other than the university reviews may of course be conducted by colleges or departments/divisions/schools at times other than those scheduled by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, and they may request a university review on their own initiative. The schedule for program review and all subsequent modifications will be published by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs and distributed to the faculty.

Periodic Review. Departments/divisions/schools or interdisciplinary groups scheduled for university review prepare a complete program review document for the program under consideration, as a result of department/division/school wide consultation, and according to the format prescribed by the Program Review Subcommittee. However, a department/division/school that has programs which have undergone within the past three years specialized accreditation which included external reviewers will prepare a matrix comparing the standards and criteria of accreditation and those of program review, and, if necessary, a modified report consisting of those sections which are not addressed in the accreditation documents. The full program review reports will be submitted for department/division/school programs which were not addressed in the accreditation process. Copies of all accreditation documents shall be provided to the subcommittee.

Periodic Review of Accredited Programs. Because the goal and intent of program review and accreditation are distinct, programs that have undergone accreditation review must also undergo program review, albeit modified, so as to utilize the work done for accreditation. Therefore, one year prior to the scheduled program review the program will develop a matrix comparing the program review standards and criteria with the standards and criteria required for accreditation, and submit it to the college dean. The matrix along with the accreditation documents will be reviewed by an ad hoc committee in order to determine the extent to which accreditation documents meet the program review criteria. This ad hoc committee will be composed of the executive secretary of the Program Review Subcommittee, the chair of the Program Review Subcommittee, the college dean, and the chair of the program. At the conclusion of the review of documents, the ad hoc committee will report to the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs the extent to which the program's accreditation documents meet the requirements for program review self-study, and identify any areas that should be addressed in a modified program review self-study.

The Program Review Subcommittee is selected according to established campus procedures.*

Following review by the Program Review Subcommittee, its report will be transmitted to the department/division/school and college for their responses. The report of the Program Review Subcommittee shall be prepared by the voting members of the subcommittee. The Program Review Subcommittee report and response will be submitted to the Educational Policy Committee. The Program Review Subcommittee report and response will be filed in both college and university academic planning and resources offices, where they can be used for planning purposes (which might include processes such as long-range program planning, program modification, and reallocation of resources), data extraction for systemwide analyses, and other positive aspects of program development. Implementation of recommended changes shall be handled through appropriate academic channels.

External Review. All programs to be reviewed by the Program Review Subcommittee are subject to an independent evaluation by external reviewers. Unless otherwise determined by the Program Review Subcommittee, departments/divisions/schools in which an external review or national accreditation has been conducted within the previous three years will be exempt from this requirement. The external reviewers will be individuals of significant professional reputation in the field, who will report their findings to the Program Review Subcommittee and to the appropriate department/division/school or college. The evaluation report will become part of the permanent Program Review file. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee will be responsible for the overall coordination of the external review.

Nominations for evaluators of each program will be solicited from the chair of the department/division or director of the school, the dean of the college, and from other institutions, higher education associations and professional organizations. Nominees should have no prior or present academic appointment at Cal State, Los Angeles. These nominees will be reviewed by the departmental/divisional/school faculty, who may reject any of the nominees for cause. The external review evaluators will be selected from the remaining nominees by the Program Review Subcommittee. When possible one evaluator should be from the CSU system and one from outside the CSU system. The evaluators will spend at least two days on campus meeting with students, staff, department/division/school faculty, and administrators, and then prepare a written evaluation. Sufficient funds to cover the expense of the external reviews will be included in the budget of the University.

Additional Reviews. Student academic support programs (University Writing Center, Tutorial Center, Academic Advisement Center, Testing Center, GE Honors Program, PALS Program and the Library) must be reviewed qualitatively and quantitatively on a periodic basis. The determination of review cycles and review criteria will be approved by the Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or a designated sub-unit of that office after consultation with the Educational Policy Committee. Ad hoc review committees will be convened for the purposes of reviewing each of these programs which shall include a member of the corresponding Senate committee when such a committee exists, i.e., Academic Advisement Center - Academic Advisement Subcommittee. In the case of new programs, it should be expected that a developmental period of up to five years will be required to establish a valid measure of their achievement. The President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, or the Educational Policy Committee may request additional reviews of the aforementioned programs in any given academic year for purposes of planning or to satisfy a request from the Chancellor's Office or the Board of Trustees.

(Senate: 1/5/82, 3/6/90, 2/25/97, 5/20/03; President: 1/18/82, 4/5/90, 4/22/97, 9/5/03; Editorial Amendment: 9/00, 8/01, 11/07)

Charge. The Program Review Subcommittee has the following responsibilities:

  1. To implement Trustee policy on review of degree programs.*
  2. To report and recommend to the Educational Policy Committee any proposed policies that might be desired.
    *See section titled Review of Degree Programs.

Membership. The membership of this subcommittee shall be composed of of the following:

Voting members

  1. One tenured faculty member from each college elected for staggered three-year terms according to procedures approved by a majority vote of the college faculty. Alternate members shall also be elected by these procedures. Faculty in the Library and Student Affairs are considered the same as a college for this purpose. Members shall serve as representatives of the University, not as representatives of their respective colleges.
  2. One tenured member elected annually by the Educational Policy Committee from its own membership or from the membership of its other subcommittees.
  3. One tenured faculty member elected from the faculty of the college which houses the department/division/school being reviewed, excluding faculty from that department/division/school. This member serves only when programs in his or her college are being reviewed.
  4. One upper division, classified graduate or posbaccalaureate credential student member selected annually by the Board of Directors of the Associated Students, Inc. The criteria for the student member are the same as those specified for student members of the Academic Senate (Constitution of the Faculty, Section h, Appendix C of the Faculty Handbook).
  5. The Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs or designee who serves ex officio as executive secretary, non-voting.

Quorum. All members of the subcommittee should be present during all of the deliberations and all members must sign the final program review reports.

Officers and Duties.

  1. The officers of this subcommittee are chair and vice chair who shall be elected annually by the subcommittee at the last meeting of the academic year by members of the following year's subcommittee.
  2. The chair shall call regularly scheduled meetings of the subcommittee and shall set the agenda.
  3. The chair shall determine by the second week of the spring quarter the faculty replacement needs for the following year and shall so notify the standing committee chair who shall notify the appropriate body to conduct necessary elections.

Meeting Time. The Program Review Subcommittee meets weekly on Thursdays from 12:15 to 1:30 p.m.