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Program Review: Non-Degree Granting Units

Degree-granting academic departments and programs undergo academic program review once every 6-8 years. Whenever possible, institutes and centers that are associated with a department are reviewed as part of the department’s academic program review.

Independent evaluations or reviews are held when the interdisciplinary nature of a unit makes combined reviews unfeasible or when the academic office, program, or center is independent of a department, such as the Humanities Center, the University Honors Program, or Office of Liberal Education.

The independent evaluation consists of two phases: a self-study created by the staff or leadership of the program, office, or center and an evaluation by reviewer(s).

The provost or dean establishes a schedule for those units in their division.

To initiate the self-study process, the director or leader of the unit and the designated representative in the provost’s or dean’s office meet to discuss the following:

  • Review process and timeline
  • Format and content of the self-study
  • Data needs (to be supplied by Office of Institutional Research and others)
  • Process used to identify external and internal reviewer(s)

Review Process & Timeline

  1. The provost or dean selects units (offices, centers, programs) to be reviewed on a rotating basis. The provost or dean may also choose to form a “cluster” of several units based on similarity of mission for combined review (e.g., several offices within Global Initiatives may undergo a combined review).
  2. In consultation with the unit leader, the dean or provost chooses external and possibly internal reviewer(s) for the unit or cluster to be reviewed. Reviewer(s) are generally selected 4-6 months prior to the site visit.
  3. Prior to the reviewer’s site visit, each unit in consultation with the provost or dean develops a self-study that includes key issues and a strategic plan. The self-study document should be completed and submitted to the dean or provost at least six weeks prior to the site visit.
  4. The dean or provost may decide to provide input on the self-study. If needed, a revised self-study should be completed four weeks prior to the site visit.
  5. One month prior to the site visit, the dean or provost sends the self-study and other information materials as appropriate to the reviewer(s).
  6. The review visit itinerary and travel arrangements will be coordinated by the unit leader. Meetings with the dean or provost should be scheduled at the beginning and end of the visit.
  7. The reviewer(s) will generate a report within four weeks of the site visit. The report will be shared with key stakeholders (e.g., dean or provost, staff of the unit).
  8. The unit leader and dean or provost will conduct a fact-check on the report within a week of its receipt. If necessary, they will ask for corrections of errors in facts.
  9. The unit will provide a written response to the review within one month of receiving the report.
  10. The unit leader will meet with the dean or provost to discuss the results of the review, and the provost or dean will write a university response, if necessary.

Self-Study

Although the specific format and content of the self-study will be determined collaboratively by the leadership of the unit and the appropriate dean or provost (or his or her designee), you are encouraged to adhere as much as appropriate and applicable to the self-study guidelines for academic program review.

Toward that end, the self-study generally includes the following elements:

  • Executive Summary: 500 word abstract of the full report that highlights elements of each part of the self-study
  • History and description of the fundamental purpose, services and activities that organize and motivate the activities of the unit
  • Staffing of the unit
  • Critical analysis of the current state of the work of the office, including outcomes, strengths, challenges, and specific opportunities for improvement, including whatever quantitative information may be required by the dean or provost
  • Key issues (up to three) the unit and provost or dean wishes the reviewer(s) to address, and any other expectations the unit has of the evaluator(s)
  • Strategic plan for the next 5 to 10 years, including staffing and resource allocation, and its relationship to the fiscal guidelines supplied by the dean or provost.

Data Needs

The unit leader will make requests of data from the appropriate offices, such as Office of Institutional Research, University Registrar, or Enrollment Management & Student Success.

External Reviewers

External reviewer(s) are selected by the dean or provost in consultation with the leader of the unit. At least one of the reviewers should come from outside Miami and have a national reputation and expertise relating to the field or mission of the unit. The goal of the reviewer(s) is to evaluate the unit’s principal activities in comparison with similar and leading units in other universities, to assess its trajectory, and to recommend changes for improvement, under the assumption of constant resources.

Establishing the date and time for the on-campus visit; developing the charge, questions, and objectives for the external reviewer(s); and setting the agenda are all critical components that require communication within the unit and between the unit and dean or provost. The opening and closing meetings with the reviewer(s) include the dean or provost (or designee). They do not include members of the unit being reviewed.

Review Report

After the review site visit is complete, the reviewer(s) should prepare a critical evaluation of the unit’s self-study and outcomes of the site visit. The report is due to the dean or provost within one month of the conclusion of the site visit.

If there are multiple reviewers, the report should be prepared collaboratively among the reviewers with one person taking the lead as the main editor and ensuring that there is a consensus on the contents of the final version of the report.

The review report generally should include the following:

  • Executive Summary (no more than one page)
  • Analysis of the activities and performance of the unit since the last review (strengths, areas of improvement, its response to challenges and changing contexts)
  • Analysis of the unit’s strategic plan
  • Evaluation and discussion of the key issues
  • Conclusion, including summary of recommendations (under the assumption of constant resources) and any additional impressions