Traditional Comprehensive Program Review
A comprehensive program review, which is the most common form of review in CSUís mandatory 7-year review cycle for all academic units, is appropriate for programs that do not undergo disciplinary accreditation through external agencies. It is also the appropriate form of review for new programs, or for any program that requests such a review. Departments and schools may self nominate their units for review. In addition, the Provost, college deans, and senate committees may nominate units for review.
Special Emphasis Self-Study Option
Starting in 2004, the special emphasis self-study option was made available to departments to eliminate the duplication of effort involved in preparing a self-study for a professional accreditation as well as for CSUís internal program review. This option is designed to go beyond accreditation in realizing a department's full potential.
The orientation of accreditation agencies is one of stipulating compliance with minimum standards. Typically, language capturing the essence of accreditation is along the lines of meeting general institutional requirements or standards that apply to all programs, irrespective of their resources, or experiences in fulfilling unique educational needs. The special emphasis option gives credit for successfully completing a round of accreditation review. However, the department or program will be invited to explore, within the context of CSUís program review, its unique opportunities and challenges that may only be of cursory interest to accrediting agencies.
Using the special emphasis option for review paves the way for aligning a departmentís or programís goals with the strategic direction adopted by the college and the university as a whole. One example of differences in accreditation versus internal priorities is CSUís need to affirm its responsiveness to the complex issues of its urban community through teaching and research. An emphasis such as this and many others may be outside the sphere of accreditation.
In other instances where a program has completed an accreditation review, the data compiled for the initial dossier may show that a particular weakness deserves attention or that a particular strength provides an opportunity for growth given sufficient resources. In these cases, the self study may focus on a single theme. This feature of program review at CSU has been adapted from NCAís Existing Practices Regarding Institutional Improvement (1997).
Common Theme Option: Review of Several Units Based on a Common Theme
Under this third option, several units, departments or schools may be reviewed based on a single theme such as general education requirements, writing across the curriculum, distance education, introducing technology in the curriculum, or the need for adjunct faculty. In some cases, several units may be reviewed for common resources, e.g., all the fine and performing arts in anticipation of a new building or school.Return to Program Review website.