Program Review

The University of San Diego's academic program review provides a systematic and continuous means of assuring academic excellence in student learning. It is designed to encourage accountability and dialogue among members within the program under review as a self-reflective, continuous process within the broader institutional and discipline-based contexts.

The Academic Program Review (APR) is a four-stage process:
  1. Program self-study
  2. External review team site visit and report
  3. Academic Review Committee (ARC) recommendations
  4. Program's long-term plan and administrative memorandum of understanding (MOU)

Each stage is fully elaborated in USD's Academic Program Review Guidelines. The Academic Review Committee (ARC) meets once or twice per semester to discuss program review materials. Members are chosen by the schools' deans and by the Academic Assembly for the College of Arts and Sciences. 

A number of USD programs undergo accreditation comprehensive reviews and site visits from external agencies. For these programs, USD's APR Guidelines for Programs with Accrediting Bodies have been adapted. Finally, several Master's programs are delivered fully online; each of these programs must also undergo a full review using USD's Online Program Review Guidelines.

The Student Affairs Unit and Area Review process establishes a systematic process for individual units and areas within the division to rigorously reflect on their programs and services. In support of the organizational excellence goal in the Student Affairs Strategic Plan, "the primary purpose of outcomes-based assessment [unit] review is for faculty and co-curricular programs to engage in a systematic, reflective process that allows them to gather evidence to improve their programs." (Bresciani, 2006) Building on the primary purpose of improvement, the following key principles guide this process:

  • Demonstrate EVIDENCE OF EXCELLENCE in the unit and area's programs and services.
  • Illustrate ALIGNMENT among unit and area outcomes, divisional and institutional strategic plans and university mission.
  • Establish EVIDENCE-BASED DECISION MAKING about program and service improvement, resource allocation and planning.
  • Formalize ACTION PLANNING to ensure continued progress toward excellence

The Program Review process is meant to assist programs in understanding their distinctive and collaborative roles within the University community and with relevant external constituents. It provides the foundation for assessing student learning and for making evidence-based plans and decisions to foster improvements at all levels of the institution. Program reviews are integral to planning, resource allocation and other decision-making within the university.