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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Academic Program and Discipline Review?

A: Academic Program Review is a systematic, outcomes-based evaluation with the specific goal of fostering continuous improvement. Programs review use a variety of forms of data, including enrollment, demographic, curriculum, employment and labor market, retention, and graduation, as well as survey data from students and faculty from the program to determine areas for improvement.

Q: Why do programs and disciplines undergo review?

A: Academic Program Review provides an opportunity for an in-depth self-study. Specifically, it allows programs and disciplines to develop a strong vision where the program wishes to be and create actions to get there.

Q: Is the Program and Discipline Review process limited to programs?

A: No, both programs and disciplines undergo Academic Program Review. NOVA aspires for continuous improvement in all areas relating to student learning, including programs and disciplines.

Q: How often are academic programs and disciplines reviewed?

A: Degree programs, certificates, and career studies certificates are evaluated approximately every five years. Disciplines are evaluated every seven years. Programs accredited or approved by external agencies (e.g., the nursing program) are reviewed on their professional accreditation cycle.

Q: What is the Academic Program and Discipline Review process?

A: Each Academic Program and Discipline Pathway Provost and Dean will receive a notification from the Office of Assessment the semester before a review is set to start in order to choose the Review Chair and begin forming the Review Committee. At the initial “kick-off” meeting, each academic program and discipline will receive a prepopulated review template specifically for the academic program or discipline to complete.

Q: How long is the Academic Program and Discipline Review process?

A: Academic Program Review takes approximately one academic year. The first semester allows programs and disciplines an opportunity to analyze the effectiveness of their current curriculum compared with the demands of the workforce and student populations. During the second semester, the committee reviews student success metrics, such as course success rates, retention, and graduation, as well as create and finalize student and faculty surveys. 

Q: Who is responsible for writing the report?

A: Academic Programs and Disciplines form a review committee with the Pathway Dean. The committee will decide which members write which portion of the report.

Q: Who reviews the final report?

A: After completing the final draft of the report, programs and disciplines submit it to the office of Planning and Assessment who will review and offer suggestions. Once “final”, the Pathway Dean submits the final report to the Chief Academic Officer (CAO). The CAO presents the Action Plan(s) to Administrative Council for final approval.

Q: What is the difference between an Action Plan recommendation and a suggestion?

A: A recommendation refers to actions that must be taken to achieve effectiveness of SLOs and the program/discipline overall. A suggestion refers to actions that should be taken to improve effectiveness. Programs and disciplines will discuss these recommendations and suggestions throughout the report and restate them in the last section of the report, Action Plan for Improvement.

Q: Once academic program review is complete and the report is submitted, how will the Committee know if programs and disciplines are implementing their actions for improvement?

A: After the Administrative Council approves the program or discipline review report and action plan(s), programs or disciplines will submit two reports at two different periods following program or discipline review. The first report, First Action Plan Implementation Report, is due six months after the Administrative Council Approval. The second report, Second Action Plan Implementation Report, is due six months after submission of the First Implementation Report.