Conducting a Program Review Part Six: Finalizing a Report and Wrapping Up the Program Review
By this step in the process of conducting a program review, the team has collected and reviewed documentation, established ratings for each of the components, and drafted action plans for improvements. Next, the information should all be compiled into a written report that describes the steps taken and findings for various stakeholders and audiences.
The writing process can be collaborative among team members, with individuals taking ownership over different sections, or the weight of this culminating document might land on the program review team leader, who has been collecting and organizing the information along the way. The report should include a description of the team’s methodology for reviewing evidence and conducting ratings; the resulting ratings in each of the component areas along with related evidence and action plans; and an executive summary of key themes or trends from the program review.
In preparing a report, consider the audiences who will be utilizing the information. While everyone consuming the report is unique in their interests and perspectives, it is often the case that an executive summary is useful for divisional leaders; overall performance ratings and resource needs are of interest to unit supervisors; and actions plans for improvement are of concern for the staff directly invested in the program area.
The program review process will have identified areas of strength and weakness using evidence and assigning ratings as objectively as possible. Ultimately, the resulting report will then need to be carefully examined through follow-up meetings with the program staff to establish realistic priorities and implementation strategies based on the results. This work of putting the findings into action will likely require securing necessary resources, navigating potential barriers, and building a shared investment in continuous improvement.
Program Review Summary
To assist in achieving outcomes for advancing campus community, professionals have a variety of assessment tools available to them to assist in conducting a self-study of their programs. This six-part series presented in The Bulletin over the past year utilized a framework from the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS)—a consortium of higher education associations that creates credible standards, guidelines, and self-assessment guides—to outline a process, including:
- Planning the self-assessment process using available tools
- Assembling and educating the program review team
- Collecting and reviewing evidence
- Judging performance and interpreting ratings
- Creating an action plan
- Finalizing the report and closing the loop
Utilizing this practical process and structure, along with tools available through CAS, campus leaders can more effectively design and evaluate their program and service offerings to meet the unique needs of their institution and the students they serve.
ACUI members always have access to relevant functional area standards.