Office of Undergraduate Education

O'Dowd Hall, Rooms 340-342
386 Pioneer Drive
Rochester, MI 48309-4454
(location map)
(248) 370-4083

A group of students seated on benches outside, talking and smiling.

Academic Program Review

Academic program review provides the only comprehensive evaluation of an entire academic program, examining the elements which contribute to its success. In addition to improving programs, the academic program review process has several objectives, which are outlined in the following sections.

Program review form for programs that have an external accreditation body

Review Purpose
The primary purpose of program review is the improvement of programs, as measured by the quality of the faculty, the students, library and other educational resources, the curriculum, available facilities, and the academic reputation of the program among its peers. Institutions of higher education, like individuals, require some regular self-examination to improve, and the systematic review of academic programs is an integral part of this process of improvement.

In addition to the improvement of programs, program review has several associated objectives or goals. For the individual university, program review helps in long-range planning and in setting both institutional and departmental priorities. It gives administrators and academic leaders critical information about the size and stability of a program, its future faculty resources and student market, its equipment and space needs, its strengths and limitations, and its contribution to the mission of the institution. It helps set goals and directions for the future, and ensures that overall academic plans and budget decisions are based on real information and agreed-upon priorities.

Program review also provides a mechanism for change. Programs evolve slowly; intellectual differences, bureaucracy, time pressures, vested interests, concern for survival, and simple inertia all make change difficult. By creating a structured, scheduled opportunity for a program to be examined, program review provides a strategy for improvement that is well-reasoned, far-seeing, and as apolitical as possible.

Why Have Program Review
Faculty are evaluated for salary increases and promotion and tenure; students are evaluated for admissions, performance and degree completion; courses are evaluated as they are added to the curriculum; and facilities and resources are scrutinized annually in the budgeting process.

So why have program review? Program review provides the only comprehensive evaluation of an entire academic program, examining the elements which contribute to its success. Constant scrutiny is unhealthy for any program, but periodic, thorough review will ensure that the program has lived up to its original goals and will identify key areas in which it should be strengthened. The program review format is designed to encourage meaningful self-study that will lead to action toward the continued improvement of programs.

What does a review entail?
The first step in the program review is a program self-study. The self-study is prepared by the faculty of the department and is both descriptive and evaluative; it provides basic information on the nature of the program and gives the faculty's assessment of the program's strengths and weaknesses. The second step is a review of the self-study by an outside expert or external accrediting body. The self-study, external review and recommendations are shared with the Dean and Provost.
Review Process
Outline for Decennial Program Review*
Program Review
All academic programs at Oakland University are mandated by the University Senate to undergo a formal program review at least every 10 years in a cycle of continuous improvement and to ensure program quality and relevance.

Expectations: The Program Review Self-Study is to be faculty led, with input from Faculty and Professional Academic Advisors. While you will generate a self-study document, meaningfully examining your program(s) is the most critical component of this process.

Length of the self-study should be no more than 10 pages single spaced, excluding Appendix. Rather than being answered one by one, the Guiding Questions might best serve to shape your self-study and inform you report. Also, this process is likely to reflect the specific nature of your program.

Introduction/Program Overview
  • Mission/Vision/Purpose
  • Program Goals
Guiding Questions
1. How are your program goals connected to the University Mission/Vision?
2. How are your program goals connected to the College or School Mission/Vision?
3. How are your program goals connected to the Department Mission/Vision?
4. Are there emergent trends in the program's discipline(s) that inform your goals and their connection to the mission/vision?

Program Description
  •       Program structure and enrollment trends
  • Major(s)
  • Specialization(s)
  • Concentration(s)
  • Minor(s)
    • Program Learning Objectives
    • Recent changes in program with rationale for the changes
Guiding Questions
1. Is the curriculum cohesive, current and innovative, providing students the knowledge and skills to succeed at OU and in the future? Are the related concentrations, specializations, and/or tracks relevant or should it/they be revised to meet current student demand/needs?
2. Does student input from an exit survey and/or survey of recent (1-5 years post-graduation) confirm that the program is well-structured and of value? Are there areas of improvement?
3. Do students find the program satisfying and relevant?
4. How has your latest program assessment impacted the program curriculum?
5. What trends do you see in your student's preparedness for career success (i.e., type of jobs received after graduation)? How do employers view the quality of the program and its graduating students?
6. What faculty groups (Full-time Adjunct, Special Instructors, Assistants, Associate Professors, Part-time Faculty-Special Lecturers, Lecturers) are teaching the required courses in the program?
7. If you have a specialized/professional accreditation, discuss the impact on your program and changes that have resulted in the curriculum.
8. What opportunities exist for developing interdisciplinary connections or 4+1 programs or other opportunities to strengthen the program?

  • Alignment of Program Goals with OU Goals (SWOT Analysis of each goal)
    • Student success
    • Research/scholarship/creative inquiry
    • Community engagement
    • Diversity, equity and inclusion
Guiding Questions
The following questions should help you identify program strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats for each of the four OU Goals. You may find there are additional program specific questions you may want to consider.

Student Success
1. Beyond grade, retention, and graduation metrics, what are your department or program-wide student success indicators, for example, research and creative accomplishments (i.e., publications/performances/presentations), student awards, community engagement, employment and/or passing of licensure/certification/professional exam?
2. Is the current level of instructional support sufficient to maintain an effective learning environment and opportunities for faculty and student success?
3.What trends do you see in student preparedness, persistence/academic progress, retention rates and degree completion?
4. How does course availability and range of course offerings impact the quality of the program and retention of students? Are there curricular roadblocks to student progression due to course scheduling?
5. How does the program inform students about and guide the use of academic advising, mentoring, community engagement opportunities and overall educational opportunities?
6. For multi-section courses: Does the DFWI and/or AB rate vary widely between sections? If so, is there a pattern in the variability? What can be done to reduce the variability?

Research, Scholarship, Creative Inquiry
1. How are undergraduate student research, scholarship and creative inquiry encouraged and supported by your department/program?
2. What processes and procedures are in place to ensure integrity of scholarship and teaching within your program? For example, discuss the ways in which students are given guidance in the ethical use of information and academic honesty.
3. What are the major areas of research, scholarship and creative inquiry in which the program faculty are engaged?
4. What is the direct relationship of faculty research, scholarship and creative inquiry to program curricula and teaching?
5. Describe the space and support you have and need to support faculty and student research, scholarship and creative inquiry?

Community Engagement
1. To what extent is community engagement reflected in your curriculum?
2. What community partnerships has your program established?
3. What opportunities are there to increase your program's community engagement, both within and beyond the program curriculum?
4. How does your program connect to alumni?

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
1. How is the role of diversity and the public good integrated into your program? Highlight one or two examples in research, curricular development, academic honesty or community engagement?
2. How does diversity, equity and inclusion inform your program curriculum?
3. How are diversity, equity and inclusion reflected in student recruitment and retention?
4. How are diversity, equity and inclusion reflected in faculty recruitment and retention?
5. How does your program support equity and access for students?

  • Summary and plan for program improvement
    • Identification of 3-5 years of excellence
    • Identification of 3-5 opportunities/areas of improvement
    • Plan for improvements, including specific action items and person(s) responsible, as well as a timeline


The appendix should include data/information sources and any ancillary materials that will be needed for the review:

  • Department/program size, faculty profile, DFWI rates for courses, trends in enrollment since the previous program review. Note: OIRA will provide majority of this data.
  • Faculty scholarship/creative activity, teaching and service
  • Student input: Exit survey and responses from students enrolled in program capstone and/or survey of graduates of the program,1-5 years post-completion
  • Other supporting documents (optional)

*For programs without an external accrediting body

Inclusion of some kind of external benchmarking of the program. Typically, this will be review of the self-study by an external reviewer, including site visit if requested by Department Chair/Program Director and/or Dean.

Program Review Schedule
Department/Interdisciplinary ProgramReview Initiated, WinterReview Due, March 1
Accounting and Finance20242025
Applied Health Sciences20222023
Art and Art History20232024
Biological Sciences20222023
Business Economics20242025
Chemistry and Environmental Sciences20232024
Clinical and Diagnostic Sciences20232024
Computer Science and Engineering20242025
Communication and Journalism20222023
Decision and Information20242025
Electrical and Computer Engineering20242025
Health Sciences20222023
Human Resource Development20222023
Industrial and Systems Engineering20242025
Integrative Studies20222023
Management and Marketing20242025
Mathematics and Statistics20222023
Modern Languages and Literature20252026
Political Science20232024
School of Music, Theatre and Dance20252026
Sociology, Anthropology, Social Work and Criminal Justice20232024
Teacher Development and Educ. Studies20232024
Wellness and Health Promotion20232024
Women and Gender Studies20252026