Department/Program Reviews

A department or program review provides an occasion to re-examine learning goals and course offerings, identify programmatic strengths and weaknesses, envision the future shape of the curriculum, articulate goals and aspirations, and consider the implications of intellectual, technological, and pedagogical developments in a discipline.


One of the central values of the review process comes from extended, collective reflection which results in a Self-Study. Respected colleagues in the appropriate field, invited by the Dean for Academic Affairs as a consulting committee of reviewers, support the department/program in the review. The reviewers read materials provided by the department/program and meet with faculty, students, and administrators during a two- to three-day campus visit. Typically, reviews of academic departments and programs are conducted approximately every 10 years; the specific timing is arranged by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs, in collaboration with the department/program.

The process begins approximately one year prior to the anticipated review team visit, with the associate dean, department chair/program director and coordinator meeting to determine the desired semester for review as well as outline the process and specific schedule for the review. The chair/director subsequently meets with all members of the department/program to discuss their overall goals for the review.

The associate dean will ask the department/program to recommend colleagues from other institutions to be considered for the external Review Committee. This list should include those with expertise in relevant fields within the discipline along with demonstrated experience in a distinguished academic setting. Normally, the Review Committee consists of three members and includes tenured faculty from liberal arts colleges and larger research universities who have attained some prominence in their discipline, and together, represent a variety of disciplinary orientations and viewpoints. Rather than serving as an evaluative body, review committees are requested to act as consultants to the department/program and the deans, offering critical and empathetic counsel. The Review Committee is formally appointed by the Dean for Academic Affairs. Many details of their campus visit and the itinerary of meetings will be arranged by the Office of the Dean for Academic Affairs in coordination with the department/program.