Program review is an essential process to engage faculty in a systematic evaluation process regarding Syracuse University’s academic offerings. Program review contributes to the improvement of the University’s academic programs and informs our planning of degree offerings based on principles of shared governance. Program review informs departmental, school/college, and University discussions, decisions, and recommendations. By giving increased attention to our existing academic offerings, faculty can teach the topics they love in the context of academic programs that are best structured to meet the learning goals of our students.
External groups have weighed in on the importance of program review. In a 2015 report, the Educational Advisory Board commented, “… the proliferation of courses, specializations, and programs spreads resources more thinly across a broader array of activities, reducing quality. . . while at the same time producing a level of complexity that creates barriers to student success.” The University’s regional accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, comments that, “program review [is] used to change and improve educational programs, consistent with institutional values, purpose, and goals.” Middle States expects the University to review every academic program on a four-year cycle, to use our feedback from program assessment to improve existing programs, and to merge or sunset programs that have reached the natural juncture for such changes.
The purpose of program review is to craft and maintain a set of high-quality academic programs that support our educational objectives for students while making effective use of our institutional resources. If we do this well, we will maintain a list of high-quality programs that are consistent with our mission, sought by students, and sustainable.
Consistent with Middle States and University expectations, academic programs are reviewed for their quality, demand, cost-effectiveness, and centrality to mission. Defined below, these four characteristics comprise the basis of Syracuse University’s program review:
|Quality||The quality of the program is demonstrable by the extent of student learning, student persistence, employment outcomes, or other markers appropriate to the discipline.|
|Demand||There is sufficient student demand, in the form of student enrollments and/or student majors, and sustenance or growth potential to warrant maintaining the program.|
|Cost Effectiveness||The value of the program to students and to the University warrants the resources required to maintain the program.|
|Centrality to Mission||The program is deeply connected to successful execution of our mission as a pre-eminent and inclusive student-focused research university as well as the specific mission of the school/college.|