Academic Program Review

All degree programs, which are not accredited by a professional accrediting agency, are required to do an Academic Program Review (APR) every seven years. APRs provide programs and departments and their faculty with the opportunity to reflect upon and evaluate their programs and to use the findings to improve what they are doing. The Office of Academic Planning and Assessment oversees the Academic Program Reviews (APRs) for the Provost.

Please note that the Guidelines for Self-Study have been revised. The new Guidelines are better aligned with departments annual assessment reports, focus more on the analysis rather than the reporting of data, and reference our growing online academic presence. CCAS programs should use the CCAS version (PDF) of the APR.

The self-study report should be submitted to the Office of the Dean and to the Office of the Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment ([email protected]).

An overview of the APR timeline is provided below. Prior to conducting an APR, departments should view the specific guidelines for the self-study portion of the APR, additional resources to assist departments in carrying out their reviews, and the Timeline (below) Questions regarding these guidelines may be directed to the appropriate dean’s office or to the Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment.

General Requirements and Timetable:

Self-Study: While each GW school or college may institute somewhat different procedures for conducting academic program reviews, in all cases a Self-Study responsive to the University’s Academic Program Review Guidelines must be prepared by the department or program, and the department or program must be evaluated by GW colleagues external to that department. Those programs that have to meet external accreditation requirements on a regular basis may use the accreditation self-study in lieu of the APR. Contact the Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment for additional  information.

External Review Committee: Once the Self-Study is completed, the Dean appoints an external committee of at least two reviewers external to the University. They are commissioned to review the Self- Study and perform a site visit. During this visit, they will talk to or meet with relevant individuals inside and outside the department/program, including faculty, students, and   staff, and the senior associate provost for academic planning and assessment and subsequently will file an independent report called the External Report. To facilitate the formation of the external review team, the department typically provides the names of at least six suggested reviewers to the Vice or Associate Dean of, who then decides on the final composition of the committee. At least one reviewer should come from an aspirational peer institution; a diversity of perspectives will be sought.

Internal Review Committee: After the External Report has been submitted, and the department has had a chance to respond to it in writing, an Internal Review Committee (IRC) is formed. This IRC reads the Self-Study, the External Report, and any comments from the department. They then raise questions with the department, and ideally meet with selected faculty, students, staff, and other relevant individuals as appropriate. A written report, known as the GW Internal Report, is then written and first submitted to the department chair to enable the correction of any factual inaccuracies, and then to the Vice or Associate Dean.

Dean’s Letter to Provost: Upon consideration and review of all the available materials, and consultation as required in the individual college procedures, the Dean composes his or her own assessment of the department/program, and submits that information along with the Self-Study, External and Internal Review reports, and program’s comments to the Provost and the Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment, who reviews the entire portfolio and prepares questions for the Provost.

Final Meeting with the Provost: A final meeting with the Provost is set up to discuss the findings and recommendations. Included in this meeting are: the Provost, Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, Senior Associate Provost for Academic Planning and Assessment, the Dean, Vice or Associate Dean, Department Chair, and a faculty member selected by the chair (if desired).

Final Memo from the Provost:The Provost writes a summary memo to the Chair and Dean and brings the APR to a close.

Thereafter: If requested, a progress report is submitted two years after the conclusion of the review.

The next Academic Program Review is scheduled seven years after the conclusion of the review.