University System of Georgia

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Board of Regents Creates Policy Requiring Periodic Academic Program Reviews

Atlanta — October 11, 2000

The Board of Regents today approved a rigorous new policy that calls for the comprehensive evaluation of every University System of Georgia academic program on routine seven- and 10-year schedules.

All undergraduate programs offered by the University System’s 34 public colleges and universities will be evaluated for their “relevancy, quality and viability” every seven years; the System’s graduate degree offerings will be evaluated at 10-year intervals.

Today’s move by the Board of Regents systematizes a process that previously was not covered by board policy. In addition, when appropriate, the new policy will include external reviews by academic accrediting bodies.

“This policy will assure that the academic programs in place on the campuses are relevant to the needs of the people and the economy of Georgia, that they are high-quality programs and in adequate demand,” said Dr. Daniel S. Papp, senior vice chancellor for academic affairs with the University System.

Comprehensive program reviews already take place on most USG campuses, but there has never been a Board policy requiring them to be done. A comprehensive planning process developed in 1996-97 charged the Regents Central Office with monitoring academic programs in relation to both the state’s workforce needs and the number of degrees awarded. The Regents Administrative Committee on Institutional Effectiveness subsequently developed a policy to create a formal mechanism for accomplishing this objective, and it was endorsed unanimously by the System’s Administrative Committee on Academic Affairs this past summer. This committee’s policy recommendation was the impetus for today’s action by the Board of Regents.

The policy directs USG colleges and universities to develop evaluation procedures that address “the quality, viability and productivity of efforts in teaching and learning, scholarship, and service as appropriate to institutional mission.” Program reviews should involve analysis of both qualitative and quantitative data, the policy continues, and the data must support whatever judgments an institution makes about the future of the program. Depending on the findings, a program review could lead to the expansion, reduction or termination of a program.

“The program reviews will be a highly collaborative undertaking between the campus and the System office,” Papp said. “Certain performance indicators will be used by the System office and others by the campuses themselves to evaluate the programs. We haven’t specified which indicators the campuses should use, because we want them to do what is appropriate for their particular institutions, with our approval and support.”

Each college and university in the System will submit for approval a plan for conducting a complete cycle of program reviews. Subsequently, campuses will submit annual summaries of findings and actions

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