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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is Academic Program 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 program 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 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 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 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. For more details on what portions of the report each semester covers, please refer to the program/discipline review timeline.

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 a final draft of the report, programs and disciplines submit it to the Office of Academic Assessment who will review and offer suggestions. Once “final”, the Pathway Dean and Provost review and approve the final report. The AVP of Assessment then sends the final draft to the Curriculum Committee, who asks two external peer readers on the Committee to review the report one month prior to the meeting and provide feedback to the Committee. At the Curriculum Committee meeting, the readers share their feedback and the Curriculum Committee members vote whether or not to approve the report. Once approved by Curriculum Committee, the Action Report then goes to Admin 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 Curriculum Committee approves the program review report and action plan, programs and disciplines will submit two reports at two different periods following program review. The first report, First Action Plan for Improvement Report, is due one year after the Curriculum Committee approves the review. The second report, Second Action Plan for Implementation Report, is due six months after submission of the first report. During this period, the Curriculum Committee may recommend additional implementation reports if action plans have not been implemented satisfactorily.