Academic Program Review (APR) is central to Georgia State University’s planning and resource allocation processes. Periodic and systematic assessment of academic programs and the use of assessment results to improve institutional effectiveness are required by both the University System of Georgia and the Southern Association of College and Schools Commission on College (SACSCOC). Georgia State University has engaged in the systematic review of its academic programs since 1993, completing its third cycle of review in 2020.
In 2019, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness reviewed the APR process and, based on that review, revised the APR guidelines and other supporting documents. The guidelines for the 2020-2027 cycle are available here.
The APR process lasts approximately two years. During the first year, the unit collects data and prepares a detailed self-study report. During the second year, the report is reviewed by the unit’s dean, a team of external reviewers who conduct a site visit, and the Academic Program Review Committee, a subcommittee of CAP. Following the completion of the review process, the unit develops an Action Plan in consultation with the Dean, which is then reviewed by the Provost. Once the Provost has approved the Action Plan, the unit begins implementation, with the Dean providing annual progress reports.
The timeline for Academic Program Review process is available here: APR Timeline.
A variety of units and individuals participate in the APR process. The key actors are:
- The unit under review and its chair
- The Dean of the unit under review
- The external reviewers
- The Academic Program Review Committee (APRC)
- The Provost
Detailed descriptions of the role each actor plays and the resources each will need can be found in the section Information for Participants.
The Office of Institutional Effectiveness assists and coordinates the APR process. Specific functions include:
- maintaining the review schedule
- providing orientation sessions for academic units prior to review
- providing institutional data and conducting surveys of students, faculty, and alumni
- arranging and coordinating site visits by outside evaluators
- supporting the Academic Program Review Committee (a sub-committee of CAP)
- monitoring the status of action plans and their implementation
- managing and cataloging all documentation related to the APR process
APR is expected, wherever possible, to be a budget-neutral process, with its major focus on non-resource-dependent program quality improvements. The cost of quality improvements—whether for faculty lines, staff, infrastructure, operating budgets, or graduate funding—will need to be met, for the most part, by reallocations elsewhere within the relevant college or unit. In addition, units are encouraged to seek external resources as well as those provided by university-wide programs, such as CETL and Next Generation.
Units with programs that are separately accredited are still required to undergo APR. Nevertheless, every effort is made to exploit the overlap between the two processes so that units are not unduly burdened. For details, see the statement approved by the Committee on Academic Programs and Continuing Education (APACE, the precursor to CAP) in 2002.