October 4, 2021

Faculty Colleagues,

We’re writing with an update on the program review conversations that have unfolded since February 2021. When we last updated you, a task force of faculty governance committees, deans, and AVPs were going to spend this summer working on a better alignment of various kinds of reportage already in place at Grand Valley, with an eye toward streamlining those reports and processes. We’re happy to report that this work was fruitful, and the outcome is that we are on track to improve what is already in place at Grand Valley rather than build an entirely new program review process.

This past week, on September 22, the Program Review Team met and affirmed the plan recommended by this summertime task force. This plan includes the following:

  • Ensure that annual reportage on student learning outcomes, program and unit stability metrics, and strategic planning updates are brief and better integrated. This means that there should be less redundancy across reports, and also fewer and less complex reports for units to respond to.
  • Streamline reportage from each governance committee (UAC, FSBC, Graduate Council), including sharing data points/report questions with the other committees.
  • Devising an every-6-years program review process modeled after Graduate Program Review for undergraduate programs. This review resembles a self-study (which would be discontinued), and would clearly fold trend data from the annual student learning outcomes and program-level stability metrics into the review. 
  • Offer new flexibility for externally accredited programs. Such programs can choose how to align their program review timeline with their external accreditation timeline. They will also have more opportunity to upload annotated external review documentation rather than resubmitting information in another format for our internal processes.
  • Convene a group of faculty and associate deans, chaired by Bob Hollister (chair of FSBC), to help shape/define the program-level metrics we need for program review to work well at Grand Valley. These metrics will also recognize unit-level contributions to university-wide programs.
  • Clarify the role for deans as the recipients of reportage, such that they can make resource allocation decisions in alignment with program needs, as well as work with units/programs to request a program review happen earlier than scheduled toward addressing enrollment, curricular, or student learning needs.

There is much still to be done, but this work will move mainly to those faculty governance committees for the detail-oriented implementation of streamlining each kind of reportage, as charged by ECS. We, the steering committee, will remain a connection point to ensure the work is coordinated across those committees and in concert with the Provost's Cabinet. We will also continue to update the Program Review website, emailing them to you as well.

The Program Review Team is not planning to convene any longer, though many members of that group will continue to be involved in the work through the faculty committees on which they serve, their work with the data group, and in an advisory role (as they indicate a willingness to participate). We are so grateful for their creativity, care, and collegiality throughout this process.


Ellen Schendel
Jennifer Drake
Melanie Shell-Weiss 
Anne Sergeant

May 4, 2021

Faculty Colleagues,

As you wrap up the end of a busy academic year, we wanted to ensure you had a clear sense of what was happening with program review work this summer.

In our last email update, we indicated that a group would meet this summer to inventory and streamline the various program-related reports and processes that happen within Academic Affairs.

One goal of this work is to share metrics and reportage where possible, and to clarify how program-level metrics and a program review process can be integrated without adding onerous new reporting requirements for units.

Another goal is to clarify the purposes and audiences for the various reports that we have at the institution such that it is clearer to all that units can use these processes toward program revisions, and that these processes can support faculty to support faculty to better understand and participate in decision-making around their programs.

The group who will convene throughout the summer consists of:

  • Program Review Steering Committee: Ellen Schendel, Jennifer Drake, Melanie Shell-Weiss, and Anne Sergeant
  • Chairs of Faculty Governance Committees: Felix Ngassa (ECS/UAS), Martin Burg (UCC), Robert Hollister (FSBC), Julie Henderleiter (UAC), and Mark Staves (Graduate Council)
  • General Education Director: Griff Griffin
  • Ex Officio Members of above committees: Bonnie Bowen (FSBC); Chris Plouff (UAC)
  • Deans/Associate Deans: George McBane (CLAS), Tim Born & Paul Plotkowski (PCEC), Paul Isely (SCB), Mark Schaub (Brooks), and Jeffrey Potteiger (Graduate School)

This committee will brief the members of the Program Review groups throughout the summer and send updates to faculty, too.

As always, feel free to offer feedback via the Program Review website, which will be kept up-to-date throughout the summer.


Program Review Steering Committee:

Ellen Schendel, AVP Academic Affairs
Jennifer Drake, CLAS Dean
Anne Sergeant, Professor of Accounting
Melanie Shell-Weiss, Associate Professor of Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies

March 30, 2021

Faculty Colleagues,

As was shared with the deans, the full Program Review Team, and ECS, we are going to take the spring and summer terms to work on program review in a different way. 

Throughout February and March, the entire Program Review Team met 3 times and the Data Group met 5 times. Our conversations and work have been fruitful. We affirmed our working values, established regular communication to faculty about our work, and began the intensive discussion of developing a robust Program Review process. The Data Group inventoried various metrics in use at Grand Valley, compared them to commonly used metrics in program review, and engaged the rest of the Program Review Team in discussion about how best to capture elements of program review that are not easily measured.

Some issues that have surfaced include:

  • Identifying metrics that can be applied at the program level rather than only at the unit level.
  • How to value equity, inclusion, and diversity commitments within program review metrics.
  • How to fairly value collaborative and service contributions from one program to another.

One outcome that has been expressed many times in our discussions--and that we have heard expressed by faculty who have contacted us throughout this process--is that program review cannot be yet another thing expected of faculty, with yet another reportage process. We completely agree, and it has become apparent throughout our work this semester that we need to focus attention specifically on this issue before we can move forward much further in designing an effective program review process.

So, our next step is to bring together faculty representatives from various governance committees, as well as ex officio members of those committees and the Deans, to discuss the existing, multiple reporting expectations at Grand Valley, and to create a proposal for streamlining and aligning those processes. This proposal will go to the various faculty governance committees involved--University Assessment Committee, Faculty Salary & Budget Committee, University Curriculum Committee, General Education Committee, Graduate Committee--for consideration in early Fall 2021. The twin goals of this summertime project are to:

  1. Ensure our various report metrics, processes, and outcomes are focused on the essentials and thus slimmed down.
  2. Ensure there are fewer deadlines and less overlapping reportage for which faculty are responsible.

While the above work happens this summer, the Program Review Team will remain active in giving feedback and the Steering Committee will continue to send regular updates to faculty about how the process is proceeding. The Program Review website will be maintained and updated regularly, and you are invited to continue to offer up feedback and questions as this work continues. 

Thank you for your engagement so far. We look forward to sharing more information with you throughout the summer--and asking for your input as recommendations emerge.


Program Review Steering Committee
Ellen Schendel, AVP for Academic Affairs
Jennifer Drake, Dean of CLAS
Anne Sergeant, Professor of Accounting and ECS member
Melanie Shell-Weiss, Unit Head of IRIS and ECS member

March 3, 2021

Faculty Colleagues:
On behalf of the entire program review team, we write with an update on our process and timeline.
The full program review team has met twice, on February 12 and February 26. These meetings have focused on learning about best practices in building an annual program review process; thinking about metrics and other information to use in program review; and the principles, timeline, and processes that will guide our work. In these meetings, we have affirmed that values of collaboration, clear communication, and transparency of process are foundational to the team’s functions. We have developed a communication plan to ensure faculty and deans are involved in building the process and vetting the metrics used in it. And we have developed a timeline to guide our work.
Importantly, our timeline has shifted. This semester will be focused on gathering the correct metrics for program review. The work of analyzing data and making recommendations will be done in Fall 2021, which gives us ample time to build a solid process ahead of such deliberations. Of course, many faculty are away from campus in spring and summer, so intensive work on program review will not be possible nor engaged in during that time. We are committed to being consultative throughout the process, in order that program review is built to be useful and inclusive.
You may recall that there are three different groups who will largely do their work consecutively. The Data Group will hold their second meeting this week. They are currently focused on comparing the data already tracked and available to units with what we may need for a strong program review process. The Data Group will be consulting with unit heads, deans, the Faculty Salary & Budget Committee, the Graduate Council’s Subcommittee on Curriculum & Program Review, and other groups in building the right set of metrics for our process. Their focus is on choosing metrics that represent programs fairly, and that are useful to the faculty in the programs. Our full program review team will meet again on March 12, with each sub-group meeting ahead of that date, as well.
We will keep our website updated, sending updates to you as the work continues. Some of our communications strategies include reporting out on the program review team’s work via brief updates to all Academic & Student Affairs faculty and staff in Noteworthy and gathering input from faculty in small-group and larger forum meetings. We hope you will reach out to us, too, at any time that you have questions or ideas. You may use this form on our website, which will ensure your message is sent to all four of us on the steering committee for action, response, or to share with the other program review team members.
Program Review Steering Committee
Ellen Schendel, Associate VP for Academic Affairs
Jennifer Drake, Dean of CLAS
Melanie Shell-Weiss, Chair & Associate Professor of Integrative, Religious, and Intercultural Studies
Anne Sergeant, Professor of Accounting

February 22, 2021

Program Review Update
Our goal for the Winter 2021 semester is to determine the right metrics (data and other information) for effective program review. The full program review team met on February 12 to discuss the overall work of devising an annual program review process, and to learn about potential metrics and criteria from EAB’s Senior Director of Academic Strategy, David Vuletich. On February 19, the Data Group met to discuss further the kinds of metrics to be used and criteria for choosing them. The group agreed that the two most important criteria for good metrics are that they should be relevant/fair and actionable at the program level. The Data Group has determined their first step to be an analysis of the existing data used in various processes at Grand Valley (examples: unit stability reporting dashboard; KPIs; Graduate Program review data) and a comparison of these measures to EAB’s recommended metrics. Their next step will be to consult with faculty groups (unit heads; FSBC; Graduate Council’s curriculum program review subcommittee) and Provost’s Cabinet to hear what additional or alternate metrics may be needed, and which of the existing metrics are most valuable.

Page last modified October 4, 2021