LU conducts biannual review of two programs. At LU, a program review is a cyclical process for evaluating and continuously enhancing the quality and currency of programs. The evaluation is conducted through a combination of a programmatic self-evaluation, followed by a peer-evaluation by a reviewer or reviewers who are external to the program or department and, external to the organization. It is a comprehensive analysis of program quality, analyzing a wide variety of data about the program. The results of this evaluation process are then used to inform follow-up planning and budgeting processes at various levels in the university — program, department, the university — and incorporated into the LU’s overall quality assurance process.

All efforts related to quality assessment and improvement are coordinated by and conducted in collaboration with LU’s Office of Accreditation Compliance and Quality Assurance, and LU’s Office of Institutional Research. These offices assures attention to the overarching context for program review, which is Lincoln’s institutional goal of ongoing quality assessment and improvement.

Institutional Effectiveness.

One context for program review is overall Institutional Effectiveness. The Program Review must be seen in the context of ongoing evaluation of all aspects of the institution toward the goal of quality assurance and quality improvement. This evaluation includes elements such as the Strategic Plan, Board of Trustees, each unit of the institution, the leadership, the faculty, the staff, the facilities, etc. Thus, program reviews are one element of the Lincoln University’s process for improving overall Institutional Effectiveness.

Ongoing Academic Assessment.

A second context for program review is ongoing Academic Assessment. Every academic program should have some aspect(s) of the program in ongoing assessment (usually every year and the element assessed can change from year to year). Thus, ongoing Academic Assessment is a component of the Program Review plan; and, as such, the ongoing assessments can be “rolled up” into the program review.

Common steps to an ongoing academic assessment are 1) define learning outcomes at the institutional, programmatic, and course levels, 2) check for alignment across the levels, 3) develop a meaningful, manageable, sustainable assessment plan, 4) implement the plan—collect assessment data, 5) close the loop–collective reflection and action, and 6) routinely examine the assessment process.

Common elements of an ongoing academic assessment plan will answer the following questions: 1) what evidence is needed to assess each outcome? 3) how will data be collected and by whom? 2) how will data be analyzed and by whom? 4) when and how often will it be done? 5) who will reflect on the results? When? 6) how will results, implications, and proposed changes be documented?

External Review.

The third context for program review is created by the set of requirements established by accreditors. Regularly scheduled program reviews are a common requirement of most, if not all, accrediting bodies. Regional and national accreditors typically build the requirement into the standards of accreditation without specifying details about the form the program review must take. Specialized accreditors such as APA for Clinical Psychology programs or IACBE for Business programs typically provide more required structure to the form of the program review process and product as part of their accreditation process. If a program is or is to be a candidate for specialized accreditation, it is important to design the program review process to reflect the necessities of the specialized accreditation process. If at all possible, this should include coordination between the schedule and content of specialized and regional accreditors to provide the least additional work for the program and institution

Steps in Program Review Process.

These are a set of steps that are typical of program review. These steps also include approximate timing of each step. This assumes the program review year begins in Fall and ends no later than following Summer. Below, the term “reviewer” can refer to one reviewer or more than one, depending on the program, institution, finances, goals, external requirements such as professional accreditation, etc.

  1. Identify and Notify Program or Unit to be Reviewed
    • When: Spring semester preceding review year
    • What: Based on institutional schedule for program reviews, identify and notify program or unit to be reviewed.
  2. Select Outside Reviewer.
    • When: Spring semester preceding review year
    • What: Program or Unit recommends potential reviewers.
    • Reviewer selected, contacted, and agreements in place.
      • When: September of review year.
      • What: A 1 to 3 day Site visit is scheduled for Spring semester of review year.
  1. Conduct Self Study
    • Program begins self-study.
      • When: Spring semester prior to review year
      • What:
        • Institutional Research Coordinator prepares, analyzes, and summarizes data for Program.
        • Institutional Research Coordinator forwards analysis and summaries to Program.
        • As Program conducts review, work collaboratively with Institutional Research Coordinator for any additional data analyses that are needed.
      • Program completes self-study.
        • When: December of review year.
        • What: Program in collaboration with relevant institutional departments produces report of complete self-study in format laid out by institution.
      • Program forwards copy of self-study to Provost for review.
        • When: (6-12 weeks prior to site visit by external reviewer)
      • After approval, send self-study to external reviewer and internal units as necessary.
        • When: (3-6 weeks prior to site visit)
  1. Prepare for External Reviewer Visit
    • Plan for logistics of site visit.
      • When: 6-12 weeks prior to site visit.
    • Send tentative schedule to external reviewer.
      • When: 3-9 weeks prior to site visit.
    • Finalize schedule.
      • When: 2-4 weeks prior to site visit.
    • Hold preparatory meetings as needed.
      • When: 1-4 weeks prior to site visit.
  1. Site Visit, Reviewer’s Report, and Follow-Up
    • Host a successful visit.
    • Program receives written report from external reviewer.
      • When: 2-6 weeks after site visit.
      • What: External reviewer writes report using template provided by institution and submits report to program.
    • Program develops written response to external reviewer report.
      • When: 1-4 weeks after receiving report.
      • What: Program faculty determine whether there are any clarifications to be provided as well as additional recommendations and writes report; sends to Provost.
    • Provost meets with Program to discuss report, recommendations, and future possibilities.
  2. Integrate Proposed Changes Into Budget Process
    • This is highly specific to each institution.
    • Identify resources and costs needed for proposed changes.
    • Work within institutional budgeting process to prioritize, select, and budget some/all changes.
  3. Close the Loop on Program Review
    • Implement changes that are approved and budgeted.
    • Evaluate changes during ongoing assessment process.


Future Planned Program Reviews

Programs to be reviewed BS, MBA BA, MSFM MSIB, DBA BS, MBA
Academic Year 2017-2018 2019-2020 2021-2022 2023-2024