The purpose of internal program review is to improve programs through a systematic, cyclical review process—one that is evaluative as well as descriptive, directed toward improvement, resulting in action, and based on primarily on academic criteria. Thus, the program review process contributes to the overall quality of LSU A&M and the university’s academic and support units.
As required by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), the institution must engage in: ongoing, integrated, and institution-wide research-based planning and evaluation processes that (1) incorporate a systematic review of institutional mission, goals, and outcomes; (2) result in continuing improvement in institutional quality; and (3) demonstrate the institution is effectively accomplishing its mission (Core Requirement 2.5).
Moreover, the university must ensure that within its programs expected outcomes are assessed and evidence of improvement, based on an analysis of results, is provided, specifically for the following (Comprehensive Standard 126.96.36.199-5):
- educational programs, to include student learning outcomes;
- administrative support services;
- educational support services;
- research within the University’s educational mission; and
- community/public service within the University’s educational mission.
The information gathered throughout this process provides critical internal data about the size and stability of a program; current and future resource needs; market demand; equipment and space needs; strengths and weaknesses; and how the program contributes to the mission of the institution. From an external perspective, the assessment results provide a mechanism for demonstrating accountability and assist in efforts to garner financial, philosophical, and political support.
Among the individuals and groups involved in the process are the associate vice president for institutional effectiveness and academic planning, and/or other vice presidents, the appropriate dean, the unit chair and faculty, the review committee, the students in the program, and other key constituents (e.g., business, industry, governmental or other representatives). The results will be reported to the executive vice president and provost, vice presidents and deans, and the unit undergoing review. Also, the findings will be made available to the university bodies involved in the planning, assessment, and budgeting processes.