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Role in Program Reviews

The role of the Council in academic program review is to assure confidence in the overall review process and to make a final recommendation to the Dean of the Graduate School as to the timing of the next review. The Council should rely on review committee recommendations and focus on the long-term success and continuation of the academic program.

After a program review site visit has been completed, the review committee has submitted its report, and the unit under review and respective dean has had an opportunity to respond, the Graduate School Council will receive the documents from the review. The unit leadership and dean will be scheduled to attend a Graduate School Council meeting. This conversation with the Council will conclude the academic program review and allow the Council to engage in a collaborative and forward-looking discussion about the next steps.

Possible Outcomes for Full Reviews

Continuing Status with the Next Full Review in 10 Years (Typical Outcome)

The review committee has no critical questions about the continuing status of any of the academic programs within the unit.

In the space of ten years, academic units typically have changes in leadership (chairs/directors/deans), will experience some degree of faculty attrition, and will undergo curriculum revisions that respond to student needs or national trends in the discipline. These types of conditions and challenges are considered minor and expected as part of the normal growth or evolution of a program during the ten-year review cycle. Such challenges should not lead to a recommendation for a shorter review timeline or interim report.

Interim Report

The review committee has identified specific, critical concerns in the 10-year review that require more immediate attention.

  • A recommendation for an interim report signals that while Council/review committee recommends that the degree program(s) receive continuing status, there are concerns about the long-term viability of the unit’s academic program(s).
  • Interim report guidelines should be specific and will typically align recommendations/concerns identified by the review committee during
    • Interim Report recommendations should include:
      • Clear description of the critical concerns that were identified by the review committee and agreed upon by the Graduate School Council
      • Description of what information the interim report must contain (e.g., what outcomes or actions by the unit are expected by the time of the interim report)
      • Instructions for the unit chair/director to send the interim report to both the Graduate School and the respective dean/vice chancellor
      • Timeline for delivery of the interim report
      • Next steps including that the interim report will be reviewed by the Graduate School Council
      • Description of what recommendations the Graduate School Council may make upon review of the interim report
        • For example, if limited progress has been made on the critical issues identified during the original review, Council will recommend a follow-up interim report or an interim full program review
        • Recommendations from the interim report should be limited in scope to the critical issues identified by the original program review

Interim Full Program Review

There are specific, grave questions about whether the program should receive continuing status. A recommendation for a full interim program review is made by the review committee in consultation with the Graduate School associate dean and respective school/college dean.

This option should usually only be invoked after an interim report has failed to prompt resolution of the Council/review committee’s initial concerns.

Possible Outcomes for Five-Year Reports

Continuing Status (Typical Outcome)

For five-year reports by new programs, the typical outcome is to grant the program continuing status. After that point, the program will be reviewed alongside all other degree programs from that unit at the unit’s next full review.

Should the Council have any serious or grave concerns about the future of the new degree program, discussion can take place about whether the program should receive continuing status.