Guidance Letter A-070


SUBJECT:  Academic Program Review

  1. Purpose
    The purpose of this Guidance Letter is to provide guidance in the periodic review of academic programs and to ensure that all program reviews are conducted in consideration of common measures generally accepted by the academic community.
  2. Definitions
    1. Academic Program – An organized series of courses and experiences leading to a certificate or degree, as approved by the Tennessee Board of Regents, and bearing a distinct classification number (CIP) within the academic program inventory of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.  This definition covers accreditable as well as non-accreditable programs.
    2. Program Review – A systematic evaluation or assessment of historical and current conditions, and projections, related to an academic program.  Program review does not include routine, ongoing examination and research related to a program.
  3. Exceptions
    While any or all of the following description of the program review process may be applicable to accreditable programs, the calendars and criteria established by the respective accrediting authorities shall determine the process for those programs subject to accreditation.  Accreditable programs are limited to those formally recognized by the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee Higher Education Commission.
  4. General Provisions
    1. Frequency of Academic Program Review
      All academic programs meeting conditions of eligibility established by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission within the Performance Funding guidelines must be formally reviewed at least once every five years.
    2. Criteria for Academic Program Review
      While there is no limitation placed on the number or types of criteria selected for program review, some common indicators should be reflected in every review for which they are applicable.  A program review should not be begun until appropriate program indicators have been identified.  The following program review criteria are provided by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission and the Tennessee Board of Regents through the Performance Funding process.  These criteria are provided as a guide to program review.
      1. Learning Objectives
      2. Curriculum
      3. Teaching and Learning Processes
      4. Quality Assurance
      5. Teaching and student learning assessment
      6. Overall program evaluation and assessment
    3. External Consultants
      Where appropriate or required, formal review of a program shall include a program assessment by one or more external consultants.  Additional informal consultation with staff from other institutions, service agencies, administrative offices, and businesses and industries is encouraged wherever applicable and feasible.
    4. Role of the Faculty
      All program reviews are the responsibility of the faculty.  Subject area faculty should organize the review through the Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee.  The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall provide general support for the review.
    5. Reporting Responsibilities
      The Vice President for Academic Affairs shall make the appropriate assignments for submitting required information, receive the completed reports from the faculty, resolve issues, and ensure actions that promote program effectiveness.
      Beyond applicable external reporting requirements, the faculty as represented by the Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee, shall determine the nature and frequency of reporting.

Source:  Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee Meeting of June 8, 1994; Reference THEC Performance Funding Guidelines (1992-97) (2010-2015); Reference TBR Policy No. 2:01:01:00; and TBR Guideline A-010

Approved by:  Curriculum and Academic Standards Committee February 7, 2013; President’s Cabinet February 12, 2013.