/ Provost's Office

Departmental Reviews

Guidelines for Departmental Reviews

Part A – Internal Procedures
  1. The department, under the leadership of the chairperson, will prepare a self study for consideration by external reviewers (Sect. B, below) and by the review team.
  2. The self study should be assembled with copies for each member of the review team, as well as for the external reviewers and the department itself. The self study should address the following questions or issues:
      1. An introduction consisting of two parts:
          1. An abstract of the key issues addressed in the report (with page or section references)
          2. A brief history of your department over the past five years (e.g., personnel changes, changes in curriculum, significant grants received or other forms of recognition)
      2. A statement of departmental mission should be included in the report, addressing the following issues:
          1. What are the goals and objectives of your curriculum? In other words, what is the departmental faculty's vision of academic excellence?
          2. What do you, as faculty, want to accomplish with your students?
              1. What are the intended outcomes for the education of the general student?
              2. What are the intended outcomes for the education of the student majoring in your discipline?
              3. Which methods of assessment have you adopted to assess student outcomes? How effective are these methods?
      3. What are the national trends in your discipline? How has your department responded to these trends? How would you like to respond?
      4. Judged in terms of the description provided in “Characteristics of a Successful Department,” which are the strongest elements of your program? Which areas need improvement?
      5. As your department looks to the future, what specific issues and/or questions do you want the external evaluators to address?
      6. How well do your department's program and instruction fulfill your stated mission?
          1. Explain how the courses meet the objectives of your program, for both major students and non-majors.
          2. Given stable enrollment trends, what does your department need to offer to meet the demands of our students? Number of 100- to 200-level courses, number of 300+ level courses, etc.; core courses, major courses, etc.?
      7. What are your goals, in priority order, for your department for the next five years?
        1. How do these goals relate to your mission statement, to national trends and to “Characteristics of a Successful Department?”
        2. What are the potential impediments or opportunities confronting you as you strive to achieve these goals?
        3. What is the action plan to accomplish these goals?
        4. What assistance (additional staffing, additional space, additional technology, etc.) will you need to accomplish these goals?
        5. How will you evaluate your success in reaching your goals?
  3. The self study document should contain, as appendices, the following documents, many of which can be obtained from the Registrar's Office or with their assistance.
      1. Enrollment data for all courses offered by the department or taught by departmental faculty (including Senior Seminars or the First Year Seminar) for the past five years.
      2. Copies of the annual departmental reports for the preceding two years.
      3. Copies of your approved departmental budget, for both operating budget and capital budget, for the past five years.
      4. Current curricula vitae (formatted according to the standard outline used for tenure/promotion) for all full-time members of your faculty.
      5. A summary of library resources that support the department’s programs. This summary should be developed in consultation with the director of libraries.
      6. Any other documents that you believe would be useful to the review team for our assessment of your department's current status and future goals.
Part B – External Reviewers 
  1. The department and the dean will identify up to six faculty members from other colleges or universities for consideration as external reviewers. The academic dean of the division, after consulting the chairperson and the provost, will invite up to three of them to serve and will select one as the chair, who will have the responsibility of writing the team's report. The dean will make all the arrangements with the external reviewers.
  2. Unless otherwise stipulated by an accreditation agency, reviewers will be paid a stipend of $850 with the chair/report writer receiving $1,000. Reviewers will also be reimbursed for reasonable travel expenses. Charge all review-related expenses to Departmental Review Fund 18119 and submit to Provost’s Office for approval/payment.
  3. The external reviewers will be sent a copy of the self study approximately two weeks before the scheduled visit to campus to meet with members of the department. A written report is to be submitted by the team chair to the dean within three weeks after the campus visit, with a copy to the chairperson of the department.
  4. The chairperson will have opportunity to respond to the external reviewers' comments, either in writing prior to the review session or orally at the review itself.
  5. The internal review will take place approximately one month after the visit of the external evaluators.
Part C – The Review Team
The internal review team will consist of the Deans’ Council, the chairperson of the Academic Affairs Board and the chairperson of the Curriculum Committee. The chairperson and a maximum of one colleague selected by the chairperson will represent the department. The provost will preside at the review and the divisional dean will serve as recorder.
Part D – The Internal Review
The review will focus on key issues raised in the self study and/or by the external reviewers. Following the review, the Dean will write a short summary of the issues addressed and actions taken. The self study and the summary will be kept on file in the Provost's Office. Copies of the summary will go to all members of the review team, to the department and to the external reviewers.
Part E – Follow-up
At the conclusion of each academic year, the divisional dean will report in writing to the department chairperson on progress on items assigned to one or more administrative offices for action as a result of the departmental review.