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Academic Program Review

Academic Affairs

PDF Version: BOT Academic Program Review Policy


  1. Introduction
  2. Roles and Responsibilities
  3. Policy Statement
  4. Policy History

I. Introduction

  1. Authority: C.R.S. § 23-54-102, et seq. (2019) authorizes the Trustees of Metropolitan State University of Denver (MSU Denver) to establish rules and regulations to govern and operate the University and its programs. The Trustees retain authority to approve, interpret, and administer policies pertaining to University governance. The Trustees authorize the President of MSU Denver to approve, administer, and interpret policies pertaining to University operations.

  2. Purpose: This policy describes MSU Denver's program review process, which is designed to evaluate the educational programs offered by the University in a consistent, thorough way for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the academic quality, efficiency, and accountability of the programs.

  3. Scope: This policy applies to Academic Programs and Units.

II. Roles and Responsibilities

  1. Responsible Executive: Chief Executive Officer

  2. Responsible Administrator: Chief Academic Officer

  3. Responsible Office: Office of the Chief Academic Officer

  4. Policy Contact: Chief Academic Officer, 303-615-1900

III. Policy Statement

Metropolitan State University of Denver’s program review process is designed to evaluate the educational programs offered by MSU Denver in a consistent, thorough way for the purpose of maintaining or enhancing the academic quality, efficiency, and accountability of the programs. The results of the reviews should aid the Board in making decisions regarding program expansion, restructuring, contraction, consolidation or discontinuance, and the possible re-allocation of resources.

All academic programs and some University-wide instructional programs under the Provost will be evaluated on a seven-year cycle or more frequently if circumstances warrant. Academic programs are programs that offer majors or minors or both, or which prepare students for certification by an outside agency. University-wide instructional programs are instructional programs that are multidisciplinary and do not lead to a degree, e.g., the Honors Program.

The program review process will be coordinated by the Office of Academic Affairs.

A. Information Collected for the Review

At a minimum the following information and data should be provided for the review.

1. The program’s role and mission and goals.

2. The results of surveys of graduates, employers of graduates, and seniors.

3. The number of majors, minors, and graduates during each of the previous five years, and the credit hour production of the courses offered by the program for each of the five years.

4. An analysis of the scheduling of courses for the previous five years.

5. A course analysis showing how many times a course was taught by part-time, full-time, or full-time temporary faculty during the previous five years.

6. The full-time equivalent faculty assigned to the program and a breakdown by full-time, full-time temporary, and part-time.

7. Graduates’ positions and places of employment or, if they continued their education, information about the institutions attended and the degrees obtained.

8. Basic data on the cost of the program for each of the previous five years.

9. Student learning outcomes and the annual assessment reports for the previous five years.

10. Up-to-date faculty resumes.

B. Narrative Written for the Review

Program faculty should write a narrative that minimally covers the following:

1. How the program meets the needs of metropolitan Denver, the state, and society as a whole and how those needs are determined.

2. The strengths or distinguishing features of the program compared with other programs in the state.

3. A report on the actions taken as a result of the concerns expressed and recommendations made during the prior program review.

4. How the assessment results obtained over the last five years have been used.

5. The motivation for any significant changes in the curriculum, either changes that have been made or are being planned.

6. Strengths or specialties of current faculty and needed strengths or specialties.

7. Strategies the program has developed to recruit and retain students, including special advising and tutoring services, co-curricular activities, and special scheduling.

8. Strengths and concerns about resources, both personnel and equipment, available to the program.

9. Outside support and funding sought and obtained.

C. Reviewers

The program will be reviewed by an outside reviewer and a faculty program review committee.  The reviewers will be provided with the information/data and narrative described above.

1. The process of choosing the outside individual will be developed by the University. The person should be knowledgeable about the field and ideally from an institution similar to MSU Denver.  If the program has an accrediting organization, the report of the accrediting team may be used in lieu of a consultant’s report if the timing is appropriate.

2. The University will establish a University Program Review Committee, consisting primarily of faculty, that will review each academic program.

D. Evaluation by the Reviewers

The reviewers will study the narrative and the information/data provided for the review.  Their report should cover five major topics, identifying strengths and weaknesses and making recommendations for improvement.

1. Role and Mission: Is the program consistent with the role and mission of Metropolitan State University of Denver?  Do the program’s goals align with the University's role and mission and its strategic plan?

2. Curriculum: Is the curriculum up-to-date and appropriate? Are the desired student outcomes clear and reasonable and does the curriculum support attainment of the desired outcomes?  Do assessment results show that students have obtained the desired learning outcomes for the program?  Are graduates, employers, and seniors satisfied with their education and preparation for employment or graduate or professional school?

3. Students and Student Satisfaction: Are courses scheduled at times, locations, and frequencies to meet students’ needs? Do the enrollment, number of majors, and number of degrees awarded show a need for the program?  Is there adequate academic and career advising?

4. Faculty: Is there a critical core of faculty? Are the areas of faculty specialization and competence appropriate for the program? Is the use of part-time faculty appropriate? Are faculty as a whole involved in curriculum revision, advising, professional development, and service? Program review is not a review of the performance of individual faculty.

5. Resources/Institutional Support: Are resources adequate for achieving the goals and objectives of the program?  Does the review indicate that the program should be expanded, sustained at the same level, or contracted?

E. Internal Responses to the Results of the Review

The reports of the outside reviewer and the University Program Review Committee will be summarized and issues identified by the individual coordinating the program review process. The issues will be discussed at a meeting of the chair and director of the program, the dean, the Provost, and others selected by the Provost. Plans to address the concerns will be made. Recommendations resulting from the reviews will be considered in planning and the allocation of resources.

F. Report to the Board of Trustees

Annually the Board of Trustees will be informed of the results of the review. The report will be presented to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee of the Board prior to its submission to the Board. The report will contain a short statement of the program’s goals, information about the assessment of student learning outcomes, selected survey results, and strengths and weaknesses identified by the review process. Weaknesses will be followed by recommendations and actions taken. Pertinent data will be provided. Board members may want to specify that certain actions be taken in addition to those listed in the report.

G. Follow-up Report to the Board

Approximately a year after the program review results are presented to the Board, a follow-up report will be given describing the progress being made on implementing the needed changes.

H. Program Review Schedule

The Office of Academic Affairs will determine the program review schedule that will be presented annually to the Board for approval. The Board may ask for a change in the schedule if there are concerns about a particular program.  The Colorado Commission on Higher Education will be provided the program review schedule.

IV. Policy History

  1. Approved by: Board of Trustees

  2. Effective: April 1, 2019

  3. Revised: This policy supersedes section 5.4 of the MSCD Trustees Manual, 2007.

  4. Review: This policy will be reviewed every five years or as deemed necessary by University leadership.

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