Saturday, November 15, 2014

Academic Program Prioritization vs Academic Program Review

Academic Program Prioritization
Academic Program Review
Weighing all programs against a common set of criteria
Determining whether a program meets the bar for its field
All programs considered at the same time
A subset of programs considered each year on a rolling schedule
Conducted at the program level
(with multiple programs per unit)
Conducted at the unit/department level
A broad look at information
A deep look at information
Internal review, with criteria including performance and relationship to academic priorities
Internal and external review, with criteria based on discipline-specific standards and metrics
End result: programs assigned to categories with recommendations for investment and reorganization
End result: action plans for carrying departments forward

We've noticed that there has been some confusion about the relationship between Academic Program Prioritization (APP), which is the focus of this site, and Academic Program Review (APR). The confusion isn't very surprising given the similarity between the two names, but we hope that this post, particularly the table above, will help to clear this up.

The authoritative source for information about Academic Program Review is on the Academic Affairs website.  As indicated there, one of the goals of APR is to track the success of each program and ensure the adequacy of resources to sustain a quality offering; the continued ability to address access and market demand; the currency of the curriculum within its discipline; and the success of the program in terms of student learning.

APR uses a rolling schedule that visits all academic programs during a seven year cycle.  APP is also intended to be used on a regular basis (a specific frequency has yet to be determined, but some of the suggestions that have been made include periods of two, three, or five years) but it considers all programs at the same time.

The APPC recognizes that some of the information needed for APR is also very useful for APP, and vice versa.  Nevertheless, we cannot assume the availability of APR data for use in APP work because doing that would unfairly disadvantage programs whose APR is scheduled in later years, or whose APR data from past cycles is increasingly outdated.