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South Central College is committed to providing high quality technical and liberal arts education to the citizens of Minnesota. Program review, coupled with the college strategic planning process and the program portfolio, is an important part of this commitment as it provides essential data for continuous quality improvement and verification of program and institutional effectiveness. Program Review is the process of systematic review and evaluation of academic programs at regular intervals. It involves a self-study by the program faculty in the area under review, assisted by colleagues and administrators from the college but outside of the program under review.  Current students and advisory board members, as applicable, are included in the review. The Program Review procedure outlines the process for a comprehensive and systematic collection of data, which will help evaluate the strengths and potentialities of a program in order to improve effectiveness. The program Strategic Action Plan that emerges from Program Review is then considered in the institutional planning process.

Purpose of Program Review
The overall goal of the program review process is to:

  • Compile data to guide program development plans, professional development activities, and facilities utilization.
  • Identify the greatest strengths, best opportunities and preferred future for the academic programs. This future can run the gamut from program enhancement to elimination.
  • Guiding continuous improvement for the program based on program goals
  • Development of a living, dynamic Strategic Plan with meaningful and measurable goals defined.

All programs are evaluated on a four-year cycle that accommodates accreditation cycles and changes in personnel within program leadership. This frequency allows for the varying degrees of technological advance that occurs between programs. For academic programs that have special program accreditation from an outsite agency, they will follow the required frequency of that agency and make a presentation to the President’s Cabinet with a summary of their findings, and a 3 yr Strategic Operational Plan.

Selection of Programs for Review
The selection of programs for review in any given year is made by the Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, in consultation with the Academic Deans. The following factors should be considered:

  • relationship of the program to others being reviewed at the same time
  • marked changes in enrollment patterns (up or down)
  • program change initiatives under consideration
  • timing of other certifications/reviews
  • state mandates
  • professional organization recommendations
  • elapsed time since last review

The current Program Review Schedule consists of four groups of programs, repeating on a cycle. Programs that have an external program accreditation process may rotate on a different schedule as required by the accrediting agency.

Coordination of the Program Review Process
The Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness facilitates the process with faculty and administration. Academic Deans also lend the support of their departments, such as with coordination of the Internal Review Team meeting and other related events.

Self-Study Group
The Self-Study Group consists of faculty in the area being reviewed and other college staff who can share expertise and assistance as needed.

Responsibilities of the Self-Study Group
The Self-Study Group completes the Program Review Self-Study document, which provides for a thorough description and analysis of the program.  As they work towards completing this document, the Self-Study Group and the Academic Dean will meet with Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness (RIE), the Vice President of Finance & Facilities the Director of Curriculum & Faculty Development, the Director of Admissions & Financial Aid, the Director of Marketing, program advisors, and others as needed to complete the self-study. They will also, with assistance from RIE, develop a portfolio of exhibits and data for review by the Internal Review Team. The portfolio will include the following:

Complied by faculty:

  • assessment plans and results and changes made from the assessment data
  • syllabi: which includes course descriptions, textbooks/tools/materials needed, major projects/assignments, grading criteria, competencies, etc.
  • advisory committee minutes and membership list
  • supervisor comments from internships
  • examples of student academic achievement
  • other artifacts, particularly as they are relevant to student achievement
  • marketing materials

Compiled by RIE:

  • persistence and completion
  • placement and continuing education information for graduates
  • enrollment data
  • current student, program graduate, advisory committee, and employer surveys and results
  • program budgets and cost per FYE compared to similar programs in Minn State
  • FYE & FTE and FYE/FTE ratio
  • Course saturation, student credit hours, course completion data
  • Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE), Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI), or other institutional survey results

Internal Review Team
After the Self-Study Group has completed their self-study and compiled the portfolio of exhibits and data, a meeting is held with an Internal Review Team (IRT) for the purpose of analyzing all information and providing feedback to the program. The composition of this group is as follows:

  • Academic Dean for program area under review
  • Department Chair of program area under review
  • One SCC faculty member from LAS
  • One SCC faculty member from a technical program (outside of the program under review)
  • One Academic Advisor or Academic Support staff member
  • Other Administrator or Staff Member as applicable
  • One student from the program
  • One additional student or alumni

*Requests for exceptions may be made by the Vice President of Student & Academic Affairs.

This Internal Review Team examines the Self-Study and materials complied by the self-study group prior to the event.  During the IRT meeting, the team will have an opportunity for discussion with students currently in the program, and with the program faculty.  A tour of the teaching space/facilities is also scheduled, as appropriate. The IRT will complete an IRT Summary Report, offering their feedback as a strategic planning tool that focuses on the program’s current strengths and vision of the future for developing its strategic goals. This document is then forwarded to the Self-Study team for their use in developing their Strategic Action Plan, the next step in the Program Review process.

Strategic Action Plan
With the feedback from the IRT, the Self-study Team and their Academic Dean develops a three-year Strategic Operational Plan for their program. This plan lays out the goals for the program, the action strategies designed to achieve those goals, the resources required, responsible parties to work on those action strategies, a timeline, and measurable results to know those goals have been achieved.

Strategic Operational Plan Review
Subsequent to the Self-Study Group completing their Strategic Operational Plan, Strategic Operational Plan Review takes place.  This is conducted at a second Advisory Committee meeting of the academic year.  The Self-Study Group, Advisory Committee and program Dean will review the Strategic Action Plan to ensure the action steps are specific as to program, student and industry needs, well defined and measurable.

The Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness facilitates this event to engage all participants to have shared conversations and input on strategic planning. The planning is flexible and scalable, so planning and decision-making can be adjusted to fit SCC’s culture and needs.

The end goal of the Strategic Operational Plan Review is for the program to have in place an industry-vetted 3-year Strategic Action Plan with goals and action strategies, measurable results and timelines.

Programs that do a separate program accreditation process, do not need to do another self-study.  Instead, they need to provide a summary of the accreditation agency’s findings and reaffirmation and develop a 3 year action plan to present to the SCC Cabinet.

Subsequent Action
1-2 program faculty on the Self-Study Team and their Academic Dean will present the Strategic Operational  Plan to the President’s Cabinet within approximately three months of the Strategic Operational Plan Review meeting.  The Strategic Operational Plan and IRT Summary report will be submitted as agenda items prior to the scheduled meeting to enable review. 

The college and department must both agree to support the mutual goals and strategic operational plans. The Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, in consultation with program faculty and the appropriate Dean , is responsible for actions leading to the consideration of major program changes such as elimination or substantial growth or alteration.

To help facilitate implementation of the Strategic Plan the Academic Dean follows up with program faculty on plan items on a regular basis, and the plan is shared annually with the Program Advisory Committee. The program faculty file an annual progress report with the Academic Dean and Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. This report is to include evidence of discussion and action for each goal/recommendation in the Strategic Operational Plan.

At the conclusion of their program review process, each program is responsible for moving the documents saved in their program review shared folder, to their department shared drive (as appropriate).

The timeline for the Program Review process normally flows in this order:

  • Spring semester prior to the FY of the review – initial overview with program Dean/faculty and RIE Project Manager
    • RIE Project Manager provides “current student survey” to program faculty for administration
  • Summer semester prior to the FY of the review – Office of Research and Institutional Effectiveness  conducts surveys with graduates and employers of graduates of the program
  • Fall of FY – Advisory Committee Survey is conducted at first Advisory Committee of the FY
  • Fall of FY – Self-study team begins compiling data/documents, meeting with other college representatives, and writing their self-study
  • Fall of FY - Each program establishes a timeframe for:
  • Completion of self-study, including review and approval by dean
  • IRT meeting –  determining membership and scheduling the meeting
  • Development of Strategic Operational Plan by Self-study Team
  • Advisory Committee (or external team determined by the Self-Study Team and Dean)– review of the Strategic Operational Plan at second meeting of the FY
  • Presentation of Strategic Operational Plan by the Academic Dean and faculty self-study team representative(s) to the President’s Cabinet
  • Implementation of the goals begins with annual updates to the Strategic Operational Plan, Faculty Professional Development Plans, Program Budgets, and Assessment Plans to the Academic Dean for the next 3 years.

List related policies, procedures or plans here (if any):  Policy3.36 Academic Programs
Part 7. Academic Review. Each system college and university shall regularly review its academic programs for the purpose of academic planning and improvement.
Each system college and university shall submit an annual summary of its academic program review activity to the chancellor.
The chancellor, as appropriate, may conduct statewide or regional reviews of academic programs or program clusters, report findings to the Board of Trustees and, when necessary, impose conditions on academic programs.

Date and subject of revisions: April 20, 2018