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Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review at Ferris State University

Career-oriented education is at the core of the mission of Ferris State University (Ferris). The instruction that meets this goal occurs primarily at the program level. An effective academic program review process is essential for the health of the University’s degree programs. The academic program review process strives to ensure the quality and academic integrity of all programs through continuous program improvement. At its most basic, the program review process is simply a review of the good works, processes, procedures, and measured learning outcome results that programs develop as they strive for continuous improvement.

Academic program review (APR) has been present at Ferris since 1988. The APR process fulfills one of the criteria that the University must meet for regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association (NCA). The Handbook of Accreditation, Core Component 4a.1 of Criterion Four (Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement) states: “The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs [and] maintains a practice of regular program reviews.” As part of a larger institutional system that collects, disseminates, and evaluates institutional information, an effective academic program review process provides evidence that we meet this criterion. At Ferris, program review is a faculty-led process conducted with administrative input and support. The Academic Program Review Committee (APRC) is charged with developing, maintaining, and facilitating a transparent and equitable APR process for the evaluation of academic program quality and effectiveness; it comprises representatives from all colleges and other support services.

APR Guiding Principles

These principles should guide the APR process:

  1. Academic program review should be a continuous process that supports program
  2. Academic program review should be a transparent and collaborative process that considers and values the perspectives of all stakeholders.
  3. The process is goal-oriented. Specific program goals should be established, and the attainment of those goals should be the focus of the APR process. Goals should reflect the University’s mission and departmental, college, and divisional strategic plans.
  4. The process is both descriptive and assessment-oriented. Available data, both quantitative and qualitative, will be analyzed to assess the unit’s progress in meeting its goals and established student learning outcomes.