Cleveland State University

Office of Academic Planning

Preparing a Special Emphasis Report


This option is available as an alternative to the traditional program review to academic programs that meet one of the following conditions

  • are accredited through professional or specialized accreditation agencies outside the university; or
  • are well-functioning CSU departments that are willing to commit serious attention to a select group of critical issues in order to strengthen the quality of their programs.

The option of engaging in a focused review is not for everyone; however, some departments may be able to seize this opportunity to build a self-study around a small number of carefully selected critical areas targeted for improvement.

A special emphasis review is approved by the Provost on the recommendation of the Dean of the College in which the program resides and the Vice Provost for Academic Planning. A department contemplating such a review should contact the Vice Provost early in the planning process for assistance in judging whether such an option is appropriate for the unit, and if it is, in discussing potential topics for focused study.

Once the department decides to pursue this option documentation will be required that confirms a strong consensus among the department’s faculty and Dean regarding the selected areas of emphasis as being appropriate, timely, and among the most critical issues faced by the department.

Selected Topics for Areas of Special Emphasis

A program review with a special emphasis can be limited to particular themes or subunits, e.g., a curricular sequence, a graduate program, advising, or recruitment. This type of program review may be warranted for units that have recently undergone external review for accreditation. In such instances, 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 CSU special emphasis self-study may focus on a single theme.

The potential special emphasis topics listed in this section reflect actual challenges reported by CSU departments during an exercise on building Academic Unit Profiles in Fall 2003. Following are examples of topics that could be addressed through a focused study:

  • Designing new programs, assessing the market for such programs
  • Designing interdisciplinary or international programs
  • Curriculum realignment, developing new majors or phasing out others
  • Strengthening instruction in courses with large enrollment
  • Addressing the issues of part-time faculty as it relates to the quality of the programs
  • Developing interdisciplinary collaborations in research or instruction
  • Developing partnerships with other regional or national universities
  • Strategic planning, engaging alumni, advancement, development, promotions, marketing
  • Pursuit of external funding
  • Coping with rapid enrollment growth or decline
  • Strengthening the graduate or undergraduate curriculum or programs
  • Developing new electives in the major or strengthening service courses
  • Improving student performance – working on quality, rankings or accreditation
  • Recruiting majors, developing links with feeder institutions and high schools
  • Developing distance or web delivered courses
  • Introducing technology or adapting to new technology in the field

Return to Program Review website.
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Mailing Address
Office of Academic Planning
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue, AC220
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Location
Parker Hannifin Admin. Center 220
2300 Euclid Avenue

Phone: 216.687.5324
FAX: 216.687.5372

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