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Site Visits

Central to program review is an on-campus evaluation conducted by a faculty committee, which, after closely examining a program's self study, meets with program faculty, staff, and students, followed by a meeting with the program's presiding dean. The dean reports the findings to the Executive Vice President and Provost.

The purpose of program-review site visits is to provide faculty, administrators, and other parties careful assessments regarding the efficacy, scope, resources, strengths, and weaknesses of academic programs on the Athens and regional campuses. The committee's size and composition depends on the size and complexity of the program under review. The typical arrangement sees one external reviewer and two to three internal reviewers. UCC's Program Review Committee works with programs to determine the ideal number of reviewers and makes all official appointments of internal and external reviewers in consultation with the program under review.

External Reviewers

These are distinguished colleagues from programs at other institutions who are specialists in the program's discipline/area. They evaluate such matters as curricular coverage, scholarly output, and so forth. They play an essential role in the program-review process in light of their expertise and ability to place a program in national and international disciplinary contexts. Programs are required to submit a list of at least three possible external reviewers and their CVs or bios to the Program Review Committee's chair by July 30. Programs should ponder possible conflicts of interest or other similar issues before submitting their nominations. The Program Review Committee makes final determinations regarding external-reviewer appointments.

Internal Reviewers

These are OHIO faculty from the Athens and/or regional campuses who are appointed by the Program Review Committee. The Program Review Committee selects internal reviewers from a cadre of faculty who have received training and/or have reviewed programs in the past. Programs have an opportunity to provide objections to any particular appointment, though the Program review Committee has the final word. With 'local' knowledge of the university's mission, policies, and practices, internal reviewers examine program procedures and processes (for promotion and tenure, for instance), faculty development, resources, student services, advising, diversity, and so forth.

Charge, Scope, and Reporting

Site visits are typically conducted over the course of two days, during which the visitors have opportunities to speak with groups of faculty, staff, and students in separate meetings. (For example, non-tenured faculty members meet separately from tenured faculty, classified staff members meet independently from faculty, graduate students meet separately from faculty, etc.) The intent is to provide for open and frank discussions as the site-visit committee gets to know a program's atmosphere, practices, successes, and areas of concern. The committee then produces a written report (or two reports if the external and internal reviewers decide to produce separate documents) that provides commendations, outlines concerns, makes recommendations, and arrives at a determination regarding the program's viability. The committees may arrive at one of three conclusions: that a program is "viable," "in jeopardy," or is "not viable." The committee's report should address self-study and site-visit findings, covering program strengths, challenges/weaknesses, opportunities, etc. The report should be evaluative rather than descriptive, and should be forward-looking, not simply an assessment of the program's current status. Moreover, site-visit agendas must include time for the committee to begin drafting its report(s).

The committee's report(s) must be submitted to the Program Review Committee's chair within two weeks of the visit's conclusion. The report should include an Executive Summary (some 1-1.5 pages) that briefly outlines committee findings (commendations, concerns, recommendations) and an evaluative narrative (lengths range between five and 10 pages) that addresses programmatic practices, curriculum, teaching, research, students, alumni profile, and resources, in addition to expounding upon the commendations, concerns, and recommendations noted in the Executive Summary.


The program under review instigates and leads the process of scheduling the site visit and is in charge of creating the visit's agenda. Working with the Program Review Committee (which assigns internal reviewers), a program under review identifies site-visit dates (scheduled for October or November, typically). The program under review should first establish the dates of availability for the external reviewers(s) approved by the Program Review Committee. The chair of the Program Review Committee will then assign internal evaluators whose schedules match that of the external evaluator(s). Programs must give the chair of the Program Review Committee a four week-notice (at minimum) before the scheduled arrival of the external reviewer(s), thus allowing time for the chair to appoint internal reviewers. As noted, site visits typically take two days and must include meetings with faculty, staff, students, and the dean. Again, the Program Review Committee's role in scheduling involves working with programs to make sure internal reviewers are assigned and that their visits coincide with that of external reviewers. Programs take it from there.


Kristine Ensign
Chair, UCC Program Review Committee

Sarah Poggione
Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education