Institutional Effectiveness

Office of Institutional Effectiveness


Academic Program Review and Planning

Academic Year 2014-15

This page contains all necessary materials for academic program review and planning (APR&P). As the process proceeds, the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will continue to improve the implementation guide and post new frequently asked questions. Please check back regularly for updates.

Page Updated September 15, 2014

Procedures and Self-Study Instructions

Instructions for Completing Documentation

Academic Program Review and Planning Self-Study Guides

Self-Study Templates
Observation Rubric

APR&P Observation Consideration Rubric


Information to Assist in the Review Process

Michigan Public Universities and CIP Codes of Completions for 2011-12

For Department Chairs and Directors

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs Sorted by Date

July 23, 2014

What if I discover the Cognos Report differs from program-specific data generated by the department?

    There are a number of reasons department data might differ from institutionally generated data. First and foremost, institutional data is limited to the accuracy and relevancy of information entered into the institutional data systems. Differences may be suggesting a need to update business practices in the department. Secondly, it is expected that departments have access to student data not captured at the institutional level. Programs are welcome to include additional data in their responses as long as the data sources are provided and institutional data is also presented. If the data discrepancy appears to be in error, program coordinators should work with chairs to contact the appropriate WMU unit to discuss how best to resolve the error.

What does the “source” notation mean after certain items on the self-study templates? In some cases, the source is already provided.

    All information included in the APR&P Self-Study should be supported by data and respective data sources. For many criteria, the institutional data source has been provided for you. When department data is added, it is expected a data source will be given. Criteria that do not include quantitative data, but rather rely on internal documents, policies, procedures, or refer to an external source of data, i.e. Bureau of Labor statistics, must include the “source” notation.

Why do I see small changes in the documents from one week to the next?

    The Office of Institutional Effectiveness will continue to improve the APR&P material over the summer. Changes will only include edits in grammar or syntax, correction of errors of fact, and erroneous document format. In addition, the self-study guides will continue to be developed by adding updates, definitions, and potential resources. The content and organization of the documents will not change, so your early summer progress will be in line with the final document submission.

If we have a new program that won’t begin until the upcoming fall semester, should we still complete the templates even though the information will be very limited?

    For your program’s benefit, new majors and minors going into effect in the fall will still need to complete the template so that they have a place when Phase II Planning begins. This is a chance to discuss future plans and goals of the new program and also a chance for the new programs to gain recognition.

If our program has a pre-program, should we list data for the pre-program or should it be included with the program altogether? Would we need any additional templates for pre-programs?

    Pre-program data should be integrated with program data. The individual preparing the self-study will need to combine data sources from the Cognos reports. Programs may elaborate on the implications that the pre-program data may have in planning.

There are programs that have multiple locations with differing enrollment capacities. Should this be noted?

    Programs should certainly comment for planning purposes when location of the program is important for planning. Much of this should be presented in the rationale for program capacity.

For the Outreach and Gift section (D.9.d), what if this is not differentiated through individual programs? Is it possible to just put a statement for the entire department?

    There are circumstances where gifts and money are not given from or to individual programs but rather the entire department. If there really is no way to attach outreach and gifts to individual programs, then it is acceptable to include the department as a whole. On the other hand, if individual programs do make their own contributions, this needs to be noted.

June 30, 2014

Since the goal is to have the academic program faculty participate with the department chair or director in completion of the APR&P self-study, when can we get started? I simply cannot wait until Oct 2014!

    Academic units are encouraged to begin to review the APR&P documents during the summer to understand the scope of the self-study and data necessary for planning responses. All APR&P materials are now posted on the Office for Institutional Effectiveness' webpage for Academic Program Review and Planning. In addition, the data sets are available now and may be located through COGNOS accounts. Data being produced by the Office of the Vice President for Research and other University offices (e.g., human resources, grants and contracts, University budgets) will be available in August.

What will happen if my program or department/school has not developed a lot of the formal assessment information being requested in the APR&P? It would take 100s of hours to both develop the assessment material and complete the self-study.

    Keeping the work load for completion of the APR&P self-study to a minimum was one of our priorities. In fact much of the process is built around established data, reports and practices already in place at WMU. The APR&P process should be able to utilize existing strategic plan documents, assessment plans, enrollment projections, faculty data, and recent accreditation or academic affairs program reviews For programs that have not engaged in formal systematic review and data analysis, the review and planning will have the greatest benefit. We hope the APR&P self-study will assist with the ongoing program improvement. In other words if in the program review process we (the program, department, college and provost) discover that a program is not able to respond to the criteria, planning will begin with helping program units strategically manage the information. We plan to hold many work sessions to help department chairs and directors navigate the data collection, not just for the purpose of review but as a tool for your planning. By engaging in the self-study each program is better positioned to strategically plan for quality improvement as well as negotiate the integrated planning of the college and university. Recommendations from the self-study will become part of the department and college strategic plans, your assessment plans, etc. This way we truly have shared governance and stewardship of our academic programs.

Is "research" still considered a program? We have heard conflicting information about this. If so, how are we to separate research from its role in our programs and the unit as a whole?

    All of the updated documents included research as part of the academic program offerings. IT was felt that teaching research and service are all important in the planning of academic units. There will most likely be overlap in self-study reports when it relates to research and creative activities as there will be with service. Each program is encouraged to highlight the unique contribution program personnel and students make to the larger research and service mission of the academic unit whenever possible.

What is the connection between Academic Program Review and potential reallocation of resources? Specifically, where are the savings to come from if not from faculty lines?

    The process encourages each academic unit and college to look at their programs differently. Identify what is valued; what activities are inconsistent with those values, what opportunities should be pursued. Reallocation of resources is just part of the possible outcomes of program planning. If programs are reviewed for their relevancy, cost contribution, opportunities for growth, challenges for long term sustainability, leadership will be in a better position to allocate resources. This is not about cutting and reallocating, more about restoring strategic balance.

How will we know that the process has been successful?

    The academic units will have a well-documented and discussed self-study to work with for the purpose of strategic planning. The deans will have a mechanism for review of programs that align with Academic Affairs Strategic Plan and can assist with university level discussions. The provost will have a standardized process to discuss with deans and department chairs new program options.

Call for Nominations

Click here to download the Academic Program Review & Planning Observation Committee nomination form. All nominations are due to Jody Brylinsky by October 17, 2014.

Access to SharePoint

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Submit Questions and Queries

Dr. Jody Brylinsky


Office of Institutional Effectiveness
B-112 Henry Hall
Western Michigan University
Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5253 USA
(269) 387-0399 | (269) 387-4377 Fax
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