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APA Comprehensive Program Review Overview

The policy of the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia 3.6.3 states that "each USG institution shall conduct academic program review on a periodic basis. Consistent with efforts in institutional effectiveness and strategic planning, each USG institution shall develop procedures to evaluate the effectiveness of its academic programs to address the quality, viability, and productivity of efforts in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service as appropriate to the institution’s mission. Institutional review of academic programs shall involve analysis of both quantitative and qualitative data, and institutions must demonstrate that they make judgments about the future of academic programs within a culture of evidence. Planning and conduct of academic program reviews shall be used for the progressive improvement and adjustment of programs in the context of the institution’s strategic plan and in response to findings and recommendations of the reviews. Adjustment may include program enhancement, maintenance at the current level, reduction in scope, or, if fully justified, consolidation or termination." (BoR Minutes, April 2010)

As part of the Comprehensive Review Process, the following cycle of reviews must take place:

  • Career Associate Degrees (AAS) – at least every 5 years*
  • Associate of Arts & Associate of Science (AA & AS) – at least every 5 years*
  • General Education – at least every 5 years
  • Baccalaureate Degree Programs – at least every 7 years*
  • Graduate Degree Programs – at least every 10 years*

* "Programs accredited by external entities may not substitute an external review for institutional program review, but material submitted as part of an external review may be used in the institutional review. Institutions may align program review cycles with required external accreditation review, so long as no program review cycle at any level exceeds ten (10) years." BoR Policy 3.6.3

Comprehensive Program Review Outcomes

The review may lead to recommendations regarding the department or program resources and budget or substantial program modifications. Specifically, the following outcomes can occur as a result of a review:

  1. Enhance: The department and its programs are operating in a manner consistent with the mission of the university, college/school and department. Enhancement of the department with additional physical and/or human resources could lead to significant improvements from the standpoints of achieving strategic planning goals and student outcomes.
  2. Maintain: The department and its programs are operating in a manner consistent with the mission of the university, college/school, and department. No changes are needed at this time.
  3. Reduce: The department is not achieving its stated outcomes for reasons that cannot be corrected through reasonable enhancements, or the department is no longer operating in a manner that is consistent with the mission of the university and college/school. One or more programs in the department should be reduced or deleted.

Continuous Strategic Planning

The department head/associate dean is responsible for maintaining and updating the department's strategic plan. Departmental strategic planning sessions are scheduled into each Faculty Planning Week, and should occur as necessary throughout the year. All planning must be connected to the institution's and school's statement of mission and purpose and prioritized Institutional Planning Themes. Each departmental strategic plan should encompass all of the academic programs/majors taught in the department and should include a unit mission statement, a set of goals consistent with the mission statement, and intended outcomes for students as well as a delineated Outcomes Assessment Plan.

Unit Mission Statement

The mission of the department should be consistent with and a subset of the mission of the University and School. The department mission should reference input variables (e.g., student levels of preparation, expertise of faculty) as well as outcomes for students.


Each goal is a future state or end product that will help guide and direct the progression of the department's activities. Each goal should:

  • Be in agreement with the institution's mission.
  • Be compatible with the mission of the institution and school.
  • Be divisible into measurable objectives.
  • Have predictable consequences.
  • Have a long-term time-frame for completion.
  • Be consistent with the prioritized institutional planning themes.

Outcomes for Students

Each unit must identify the most important or key outcomes for all academic programs/majors and assess those outcomes. The outcomes for each program/major should be evaluated using an Outcomes Assessment Plan. Each specified outcome must include methods of measurement and criteria for evaluation. Outcomes should be stated in terms of expected behaviors within a set time frame and should be classified in three domains - cognitive (knowledge), affective (attitudes) and skills (performance).