Academic Program Review is designed to examine, assess, and strengthen Auburn University’s academic activities. Every academic program at Auburn University will be formally reviewed on a regular cycle.


Academic Program Review is designed to examine, assess, and strengthen Auburn University’s academic activities. Academic Program Review is intended to be used as a tool to help in determining an academic unit’s ability to respond to future challenges and opportunities, evaluate strengths and weaknesses, determine priorities, and aid in shaping plans for the future of the academic unit. To accomplish this goal certain standards should be met with respect to (1) mission and governance, (2) institutional commitment and resources, (3) curriculum and teaching-learning practices, (4) student performance and faculty accomplishments, and (5) assessment of the unit’s strengths and weaknesses.

Because only a few departments are examined each year, Academic Program Review is usually not an effective vehicle for rapid decisions about institutional priorities. Information developed during program review can support other planning and evaluation activities and provide guidance for strategic resource allocation. Occasionally, a program review may provide sufficient evidence to warrant a decision to refocus, reorganize, curtail or eliminate some academic activities or even departments. Most often, however, the process will lead to action plans for improving a department’s various academic activities, either singly or in combination.


Every academic program at Auburn University will be formally reviewed on a regular cycle. The Master Calendar attached to this policy statement (Appendix One) reflects our current plans for academic program review, but this Master Calendar will be updated annually, in consultation with the Academic Program Review committee, as circumstances warrant. All programs that hold national accreditation will be reviewed regularly in conjunction with their regular accreditation review visit cycle. These nationally accredited programs will receive an expedited review, meaning that—on a case-by-case basis—the Provost, the Dean and the Department Head will coordinate to develop and implement review procedures that complement the national accreditation review. All other programs will be reviewed on a six-year cycle as reflected in the Master Calendar. At the discretion of the Provost, external accreditation reviews may provide some or all of the information necessary for program review.

In a narrow sense, the term “program” refers to any academic activity that consumes resources. For example, a single academic department may offer a bachelor’s degree program and one or more graduate degree programs; it may also be involved in externally or departmentally funded programs of research or public service; and it may be engaged in other activities that would qualify as discrete programs, such as a study abroad arrangement. As units of analysis, each of these academic activities should be subject to its own review. For convenience, however, academic departments are the basic units of organization for program review. Normally, all of a department’s various programs will be reviewed together. Exceptions to this general rule are noted on the Master Calendar.


The five broad criteria enumerated below should be sufficient to guide the typical academic program review. However, two observations about criteria should be kept in mind:

Role of the Academic Program Review Committee of the University Senate
(Excerpted from the Auburn University Faculty Handbook)

The Academic Program Review Committee shall consist of one faculty member of each college or school and nonvoting representatives appointed by the Provost, the Vice President for Research, the Vice President for Outreach and the Dean of the Graduate School. The chairperson of the committee shall be a faculty member. No faculty member shall serve more than two consecutive three-year terms. The committee shall: (1) review the final written products (the self-study, the review team’s report, and the dean’s plan) resulting from each year’s round of academic program reviews and confer with the Provost on ways to strengthen the academic program review process, and (2) review any proposals to discontinue, merge, or otherwise restructure any academic program and confer with the Provost and reach a decision on the feasibility of the proposal.



The mission, goals, and expected outcomes of an academic unit should be congruent with those of Auburn University, reflect the academic unit’s standards and guidelines, and consider the needs and expectations of a distinct discipline of interest. Faculty, administrators and students are all involved in ongoing efforts to improve quality of an academic unit.

Key Elements:


Auburn University demonstrates ongoing commitment and support through available resources to enable the academic unit to achieve its mission, goals, and expected outcomes.

Key Elements:

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Last Updated: August 6, 2012