University Program Review Process
Why Engage in Program Review?
Program review is a process of examining, contextualizing, and acting on metrics about each academic program at Grand Valley, whether a graduate program, major, minor, certificate, or other microcredentials. The purpose of engaging in program review is to ensure that our programs stay healthy, growing in the most effective ways possible to ensure academic excellence and student success. This process should happen annually, with established metrics and an easy-to-use dashboard not unlike the Unit Stability Reports that were launched by the Faculty Salary and Budget Committee a couple of years ago.
Process and Timeline
Our first comprehensive program review at Grand Valley will happen via a two-phased approach, with Phase 1 commencing in Winter 2021 and Phase 2 happening in Fall 2021. In Fall 2020, faculty governance groups provided feedback into the process outlined below and ECS members nominated--along with Deans--faculty to serve on the program review work groups.
Phase 1 will involve generating program-level metrics, connecting with the academic programs to contextualize those metrics, and making recommendations for program changes based on that information. Our main goal in Phase 1 is to learn about our programs and the annual program review process we will follow moving forward.
Three groups will work consecutively on these tasks:
- First, the Data Group will work with EAB’s framework of metrics for program review and ensure that the dashboard of program metrics are useful, clear, and actionable
- Next, the Unit Engagement Group will help programs to engage with the metrics so that the data are contextualized in ways that respect the unique role of each program at Grand Valley
- Finally, the Analysis and Recommendations Group will take the work of the first two groups and make recommendations to the Provost, Deans, and UAS. These recommendations are likely to fall into a couple of categories:
- Curricular revisions needed to revitalize, streamline, or invigorate programs. Examples include redesigning programs to attract more students; changing the curricular structure of a program to accommodate the size of its student enrollments; trimming the size of a program; and in the case of very low-enrolled programs that have struggled for a while, potential sunsetting.
- Operational and administrative efficiencies to ensure resources can effectively support our program offerings. Examples include modest class size increases or different course scheduling strategies.
A Steering Group, composed of Associate Vice President Ellen Schendel (serving as Chair), Dean Jennifer Drake (CLAS), and ECS members Anne Sergeant (Seidman College of Business) and Melanie Shell-Weiss (Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies) will coordinate the work of the above groups. They will communicate and engage with Academic & Student Affairs colleagues on a regular basis as the process unfolds.
Phase 2, which will commence in Fall 2021–after the university’s strategic planning is complete—will involve a comprehensive look at the whole of Grand Valley’s portfolio of academic offerings to determine future directions and further align resources with growth areas. Where might we build in more student capacity? What might we need to stop doing because it is less successful and doesn’t fill as high a need? The process for Phase 2 will be determined at a later date in consultation with the deans and faculty governance.
Roster of Program Review Groups
Many faculty colleagues have agreed to serve on the various work groups related to Phase 1 of our program review process. Collectively, these colleagues represent all the colleges, ensure experience in both graduate and undergraduate education, and include academic leaders and faculty governance representatives. They were nominated by ECS and by deans, and ECS endorsed the membership of the work groups at their January 22 meeting.
Faculty Engagement in Program Review
Moving forward, there are a number of ways you can engage with the process. A program review website has launched. The Steering Committee will work with all the program review groups to ensure that regular updates, relevant resources, and other information are regularly posted at the website and sent to program chairs and unit heads.
Faculty will have access to the dashboard of program-level review metrics. The Unit Engagement Group outlined above will solicit your feedback on those metrics related to your program.
A Unit Head Advisory Group is being formed, made up of at least one unit head per college, with whom the various program review groups can consult. The goal is to ensure the data dashboard and process that are built out are informed by what units will find useful.
At any time, members of the program review team are available, with your dean, to meet with your college’s program directors and unit heads to answer questions, hear your feedback, and share updates.