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Undergraduate Program Review


A major theme and set of concerns and recommendations that arose from the last reaffirmation cycle centered on UCSD's system of undergraduate program review. The issues identified included the manner in which the reviews were conducted, the use of data systems as part of the review process, concerns with student learning as part of the "output" side of the equation, and the feedback mechanisms that would lead to improvement of undergraduate programs as a consequence of program reviews. UCSD took these issues seriously. A task force convened jointly by the Senior Vice Chancellor and the Academic Senate in 2002-03 was charged with reviewing undergraduate and graduate program review processes, and in May 2004, the task force issued its comprehensive report. (A copy of this report is provided in Appendix 7, and the self-study guidelines for each undergraduate program may be seen in Appendix 8.) Immediately after release of the report, UCSD began a consultative process with the Academic Senate, particularly with the Committee on Educational Policy, the body responsible for conducting undergraduate program reviews, to consider and implement recommendations made by the task force. Substantial progress has been made in implementing the revised program review guidelines. Currently, one major program (Human Development) and three minor programs (Contemporary Black Arts, Law and Society, and Space Sciences and Engineering) are being reviewed using the new model, and a full-time staff position has been created to coordinate future review efforts. Many of the recommendations found in the WASC review have been implemented.  For example, the mandatory review process to be conducted by academic units will focus on the grid of educational outcome expectations and methods of fulfillment of those expectations. The focus of this self-study will be a full and neutral assessment of the effectiveness of the new undergraduate review process in achieving the goals for which it was created.

Proposed Actions

A self-study team led by and including the Senate-Administration Advisory Committee will be appointed to design and conduct an outcome evaluation of the newly implemented program review system. The self-study team will seek input from all of the groups that participate in the new review process, including the members of the Academic Senate committee responsible for the conduct of the program review, the members of the review teams, the departments that will have participated in the revised review system, and administrators responsible for helping departments implement recommendations. Each year we anticipate that the committee will review four majors, several minors, and at least one "cross-cutting," non-degree program. (The Academic Internship Program is an example of a non-degree program that is subject to review.) In addition, the committee will have at its disposal the self-studies generated by the departments, the reports produced by the review teams in response to the self-studies and campus visits, the actions recommended by the Academic Senate in response to the reviews, and the department reports of actions taken in response to the review, which follow one year after the Academic Senate action recommendations are received. These reports detail the actions that departments have taken in response to Academic Senate recommendations. The self-study team will have access to program review documents that preceded the implementation of the new process in order to be able to make comparative judgments. The self-study team will focus its attention on three issues:

  • the degree to which the departments and programs have specified realistic, credible learning objectives and the ways in which those objectives are reflected in students' demonstrated competencies,
  • the unit's sensitivity and responsiveness to issues of diversity as reflected in their self-studies, and
  • the degree to which the units address issues of student retention and graduation rates with specific emphasis on their efforts to collaborate with the colleges and student support programs, such as Office of Academic Support and Instructional Services (OASIS) and the Academic Enrichment Program.