The program self study constitutes the foundation of any program review, providing critical information to site-visit committees, administrators, Trustees, and other stakeholders. Equally valuable is the self study's role in providing program faculty and staff an opportunity to formally and collectively examine programmatic strengths and weaknesses in such areas as curricular delivery and outcomes, resources and their allocation, and program goals. Programs that have undergone review often describe the process as an effective way of "taking stock," leading to the greater appreciation of everyday accomplishments, the understanding of changes in the program over time, and the identification of issues and challenges that were not previously apparent. If assembling a self-study is new to a program's leadership, examples are available on this website and from the Program Review Committee. In addition, it is strongly suggested that self studies essentially mirror the order and organization of the self-study guidelines. This makes for greater consistency and readability.
Programs adhere to detailed self-study requirements [PDF] specified by the University Curriculum Council; relevant documents and supporting materials are available on this website and questions should be directed to the contacts identified below. While program-review self-studies require significant amounts of data, self-study narratives, including executive summaries, are critical. Self-studies are the first source of information that both external and internal reviewers will evaluate, and those colleagues will base many of their questions during site visits on material that is present in, or absent from, the self-studies. The specific reporting requirements are many, but programs may provide any additional information they see fit. Self-studies are ideal opportunities for programs to 'think big' when establishing goals and outline pathways forward in an academic environment that has seen, and continues to see, rapid change.
The University Curriculum Council adopted new self-study requirements in 2013 that are fully in effect as of the 2016-17 academic year. The new requirements reflect increased attention being paid by the Higher Learning Commission-via its Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP)-to instructional outcomes assessment. Ohio University is now required to provide outcomes-assessment data as part of its accreditation process undertaken by the Higher Learning Commission. Criterion Four of the Higher Learning Commission's 'Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components' outlines this priority. Overall, this speaks to the importance of outcomes-assessment data collection as part of the program-review process.
Programs must also report on instructional delivery and other professional work in their disciplines conducted on the university's regional campuses. Online courses based on the Athens and regional campuses must also be included in the 'home' program's self-study. (For instance, in-class or online History instruction based on the OU-Lancaster and OU-Southern campuses must be included in the Athens-campus History Department's self-study.)
Self-studies are due Sept. 15 of the academic year during which a program is being evaluated. Electronic submission is ideal. Programs must submit self-studies to the chair of the Program Review Committee and to the external reviewer(s). The chair of the Program Review Committee will send the self-study to the internal reviewers.
It is necessary that program chairs/directors adhere to important deadlines in the review schedule or risk the tabling of all program business brought before the University Curriculum Council, including new-course approvals and curricular adjustments.
Programs, colleges, and the university collect data to support internal and external reporting. Programs up for review should have strategies and processes in place to track data related to instruction, learning outcomes, research, and other areas identified in the self-study requirements. (It is understood that outcomes-assessment metrics and approaches vary from discipline to discipline; each program should take charge of identifying and pursuing outcomes-based assessment in line with their particular area's norms and best practices.) A program's outcomes assessments should be part of the college and regional-campus assessment procedures. Programs should consult with their college and with Institutional Effectiveness & Analytics regarding metrics and data collection. These are important resources for any program seeking to find, understand, and report long-term and near-term data that may indicate trends, successes, problems, and so forth.
Chair, UCC Program Review Committee
Associate Provost for Faculty Development