Program Review is one process of continuous improvement employed by the Division of Academic and Student Affairs. The process allows units to engage in self-study, to identify important issues and challenges, to get support and suggestions on how to meet those challenges, and to communicate priorities to DASA cabinet and Vice Chancellor and Dean.
A strong program review process must rest on a foundation of several principles, including:
- Commitment and support from DASA cabinet for the process;
- A strong partnership between DASA cabinet, DASA Assessment, and the participating unit;
- A focus on identifying opportunities for positive change and growth (looking forward; not being punitive);
- A belief that the process is just as important as the reports and conclusions, and that the process has impact beyond the review;
- A sense of trust that information will not be shared beyond the reviewers and participants;
- Broad participation from all units and stakeholders within DASA (all units must participate and all stakeholders must be included in the conversation);
- A comprehensive and systematic process grounded in solid standards and practices.
The program review process is grounded in a systematic structure with clear standards agreed upon by DASA cabinet and Vice Chancellor and Dean, DASA Assessment, and the participating unit. At a minimum, the program review process for DASA units includes the following components to ensure a comprehensive, high-quality, and effective program review:
Notification and Training
A seven-year schedule for DASA Program Review has been developed so units have the opportunity to plan well before their review begins. Additionally, units will be given a formal notice of program review approximately six months prior to the on-site component of the program review. This formal notification may also include any specifics on scheduling the on-site, guidelines for the selection of standards, and/or requests for individuals to be included on the review team. DASA Assessment will provide training and support to the unit and to those participating in the review to ensure a high-quality process.
Each unit will produce a Self Study report that covers their guiding principles (mission, purpose, and function), organization, resources, and departmental performance, as well as strengths, challenges, and areas of opportunity. Units have the option of selecting the DASA Program Review Self Study Guidelines, the CAS Standards, standards from a professional association or accrediting body, or another acceptable source. These standards will provide the framework for self-study and will identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement. This report is made available to the line of supervision up to the Vice Chancellor and Dean and to the review team to provide the background and guiding information to conduct an examination of the unit.
Facilitated by a staff member from DASA Assessment, a review team of internal (NC State member(s) from outside the unit) and external (from outside the university) member(s), conducts an on-site visit over the course of one to three days. The team engages in candid conversations with students, DASA and university faculty, staff, and administrators, and other stakeholders to learn more about the unit, its performance, strengths, and areas of opportunity. The culmination of this visit is a report from the review team that outlines their general findings, conclusions about the strengths and weaknesses of the unit, and their recommendations for improvement. This report is shared with the unit and with the line of supervision up to the Vice Chancellor and Dean.
Response to the Program Review
Based on recommendations from the on-site review; the unit will produce a formal response that includes a plan with specific actions for each recommendation. These actions should be guided by the strategic priorities of both the unit and DASA. A meeting between the unit director or equivalent, DASA Assessment, and the line of supervision up to the Vice Chancellor and Dean will occur to discuss the recommendations from the on-site review and the unit response report.
Following the meeting to discuss the program review and the unit response report, each unit will author a One Year Update Report; due one year after the meeting to discuss the program review. If all of the recommendations have not been addressed adequately at that time, the unit will provide an annual update in the DASA Annual Report each year until all recommendations are addressed.
Support & Resources
DASA Program Review requires significant resources in terms of funding and time. Each external review team member receives an honorarium, as well as travel, food, and lodging costs. Units are responsible for planning for coverage of the costs of their review; however, for units with constrained resources, DASA cabinet decides the distribution of program review funding. There is also a great deal of time and effort required to plan, schedule, and run an effective program review. Responsibilities will be divided between the unit, DASA Assessment, and DASA Finance, with support from DASA cabinet and Vice Chancellor and Dean, if needed. Specific responsibilities are indicated in the Roles and Responsibilities for DASA Program Review document.