What is the Academic Support Unit Review initiative?
This new process will benchmark the effectiveness, efficiency and accountability of academic support units, which include every functional area that does not undergo an academic program review. Assessments, which will occur on a rolling, multiyear cycle, will tap the expertise of internal and external review teams and the experiences of unit stakeholders and customers.
Academic support units can be administrative or co-curricular. Administrative units provide institutional or academic support. Co-curricular units provide learning-centered environments that facilitate meaningful out-of-class opportunities and professional support services that help students achieve academic success.
For a list of units covered by program review and the current schedule, click here.
Why is it needed?
The process will perpetuate a culture of continuous improvement, stimulate planning, encourage use of best practices and ensure that a unit's desired outcomes align closely with Vision OHIO priorities.
The Five Year Vision OHIO Implementation Plan calls for "an approach to evaluating the contributions of academic support units to accomplishing the goals of the academic plan that includes the participation of faculty and specialized consultants." This goal is realized through the implementation of the Academic Support Unit Program Review.
What is the process?
The program review process has two parts: a formative assessment and a summative assessment.
The formative assessment consists of a self-study and an external review. The findings of these two reviews will be synthesized into a final report outlining the studies and their recommendations.
This will be followed up within two years by an internal stakeholder review. The summative review will focus on the program's quality, cost and alignment with the goals of Vision OHIO.
What are the advantages?
ASUPR will create unit- and institution-level knowledge and buy-in of a unit's mission and goals and help ensure the unit has sufficient resources to accomplish them.
What are the hurdles?
Some units may prefer not to engage in the review and continuous improvement process.
What is the timeline?
Program reviews will take place in eight-year cycles (with a one-year break midway through to assess and alter the process). Eight to 10 units will be reviewed per cycle. For a schedule of 2008-09 and 2009-10 reviews, click here.
The process is organized into four sequential phases that a unit can accomplish in 18 to 24 months.
The review process is designed to help streamline the unit's efforts and enhance communication. If implemented correctly, the process should save time -- not create work -- for the department in the long run. Staff members will be asked to participate in a two-day workshop at the onset of the self-study. Several follow-up meetings will be held to keep staff members informed of feedback and recommendations as the process unfolds.
What if my unit already conducts a self-study?
The groundwork has been laid for academic support units that already engage in self-evaluation. The Center for Organization Development and Effectiveness will work with each unit individually to determine how to integrate and enhance the unit's own evaluation process under the new ASUPR guidelines.
How does this process compare to academic program reviews?
Although academic reviews vary by discipline based on their accreditation criteria, the format typically entails a self-study buttressed by a peer review. ASUPR applies these same principles to the review of academic support units.
Do other universities review their academic support units?
Yes. Universities at which these concepts have been applied to support units include Northwestern University, Bowling Green State University, Georgia State University and Ohio State University.
Where can I learn more?