Developing the APR Action Plan

The final step of Academic Program Review is the submission and approval of an APR Action Plan. The template for the Action Plan is on this page and can be accessed here:

Action Plan Guidelines

The Action Plan is initiated by the academic unit, approved by the dean, and discussed with the provost. It is the provost who approves the final APR Action Plan.

The purpose of the APR Action Plan is to define the unit’s direction for the next five to seven years, based upon information and recommendations provided at various stages in the review process (the Self-study, the Chair’s and Dean’s Letters, the External Reviewers’ Report, and the APRC Report).

I. Process.  When developing your APR Action Plan, recommendations contained within the Dean’s Letter, the APRC Report, and the External Reviewers’ Report should be addressed. If the unit disagrees with a recommendation, the Action Plan should articulate the basis for this disagreement. If the unit agrees with a recommendation, the recommendation may be incorporated into the Action Plan.

Once the unit’s APR Action Plan is drafted, it should be forwarded to the appropriate Dean for review and comment. After the Dean has approved its content the Dean will forward it to the Director of Academic Program Review, who will arrange a discussion meeting with the Provost.

II.  Format, structure, and content.

The Action Plan consists of four parts, and should be kept to 3 pp. maximum, using Times New Roman 12 pt, single spaced.  It is generally prepared by the unit chair in consultation with the relevant dean or associate dean.

1.      Status of Action Items from Prior Review

Were the items from the Action Plan in the previous cycle partially completed, wholly completed, or incomplete?  Do the partially completed/incomplete items still need to be addressed or are they no longer relevant?

2.      Major Findings in Current Review

Give a numbered list of the major findings from the department’s current Self-study, External Reviewers’ evaluation, Dean’s Office evaluation, and the report of the University Senate’s Academic Program Review Committee.  Prioritize the list of major findings according to what your department thinks are the most significant, actionable findings.

3.      Action Steps for the Coming Cycle

For each of the major findings in the previous step, provide a plan for implementing a response to the finding.  For clarity, key each action step to its major finding in the same numbered order.  Some major findings may have more than one action step attached.  For example major finding #3 may be addressed by action steps 3a, 3b, and 3c.  Each action step should be SMART:

  • Specific:  it addresses the major finding with one or more concrete activities
  • Measurable:  it provides a means (such as a quantifiable target or a list of specific actions) by which you and your dean can tell whether the step has been achieved
  • Assignable:  it identifies specific actors in the unit who will undertake it
  • Realistic:  it can actually be accomplished, from a personnel and resource standpoint
  • Time-related:  it describes stages to be implemented before the next APR cycle

Keep in mind that, in the current environment, there are no new funds from central administration for APR, so most of the Action Steps should consist of budget-neutral quality improvements.  If the Action Step you envision requires new resources (e.g., faculty hires, staff, technology), the resources will have to come from one of three sources:  1) reallocation of existing resources within the department; 2) reallocation of resources from your College; 3) grants or other new revenues.  If you are looking for new resources that will require input from the College, you should discuss this with your dean while preparing the Action Plan.

4.  Signature and Date Lines

The Action Plan needs to be signed and dated by the unit chair, the relevant dean, and the provost.