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Policy 5002
Program Review Plan and Compliance

Date of Current Revision: March 2012
Primary Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning


This policy establishes common components for department, office and program reviews for administrative and non-academic units. Program review requirements for academic units are covered in Academic Affairs Policy #8.


The JMU Board of Visitors is authorized to enact policies for the university. Where the board has not exercised this authority, it is delegated to the president.


The statement that succinctly defines the ultimate purpose for the university or the administrative unit.

Defining Characteristics:
Statements that define the type of institution that the university strives to become.

The statement accompanying each defining characteristic that provides a rationale for that characteristic.

University Goals:
Goals established by division heads, with contributions from administrators, faculty members, staff members and students; these goals collectively describe current initiatives being pursued to achieve the university's mission statement and defining characteristics.

Clear, collaborative (where possible), concise, measurable and specific ways in which units intend to achieve a specific university goal or pursue the unit's mission statement. Some objectives devolve from previous evaluation/assessment efforts.


This policy applies to all administrative and non-academic units.


All major units are required to undergo a formal program review at least once every five years.


6.1 While the organizational purposes and specific roles vary considerably for JMU's many units, the characteristics of effective units describe what each university unit should have in common.

  • The unit's mission statement and accompanying documents must be concise, up-to-date, approved and identify what the unit is striving to accomplish, the constituencies being served by the unit and the way(s) in which the unit relates to the university's mission.
  • Annual objectives for the units must be clear, collaborative, concise, measurable and specific where possible. Some objectives devolve from previous evaluation/assessment efforts.
  • A planning/budgeting process, which emanates from the intended objectives, will be based on the needs and expectations of the unit's constituent groups and should provide long-term direction as well as short-term focus. This process provides opportunities for faculty and staff member participation in the unit's planning/budgeting process.
  • Human resource management includes annual written evaluations, performance standards, specific professional development objectives; and promoting, recruiting and retaining qualified faculty and staff members. The unit must also provide opportunities for staff members to receive feedback from their colleagues, supervised staff members, and students.
  • Unit communications must promote an appropriate level of information sharing within the unit; inform other units, in a timely manner, about relevant matters that may affect the unit and provide for sharing information with constituent groups
  • Finance management results in expenditures not exceeding the annual budget, conforming to all state and university policies and procedures, and ensuring that expenditures are directly related to objectives.
  • Technology management provides for the needs of the unit as well as the needs of its constituents and ensures that staff members achieve the skill level required for appropriate security access to data and that staff members in critical/essential functions are cross-trained.
  • When appropriate, collaborative efforts actively seek out the involvement of other units in establishing objectives and making decisions.
  • Service is timely, accurate and responsive to the unit's constituents and their needs, including participation in related on- or off-campus committees.
  • Unit practices must meet the ethical standards of its profession(s) and comply with all federal, state and local laws.
  • Assessment/evaluation of objectives must be well designed and include a variety of valid and reliable methods, thorough analyses and justified conclusions. Results should be used to establish new objectives and influence future budget allocations.

6.2 The internal review team should include staff members from areas other than the unit reviewed and, when appropriate, students from within the unit and other areas. The use of external reviewers is encouraged for unit reviews. The associate/ assistant vice president or division head will appoint the chair of the internal review team.

6.3 A review must focus on the unit's most important functions and needs. When preparing for the review, the unit should describe its major functions and expected outcomes.

6.4 Annual reports of objectives and accomplishments, recorded in the JMU planning database, must be incorporated into the program review. The data from the planning database must demonstrate how the unit's objectives are connected to the university's defining characteristics' goals.

6.5 An internal consultant may be selected to review and comment on the program review.

6.6 The appropriate unit head, often the division head, will review the conclusions and recommendations of the unit's program review. A written formal plan must be developed to address the recommendations of the review and share the results of the evaluation with appropriate audiences. The use of recommendations for program improvement must be recorded and monitored through the JMU planning database.


Division heads and the Executive Assistant to the President are responsible for ensuring that comprehensive program reviews are conducted on schedule and that they provide useful information for accountability and program improvement.

Division heads, the Executive Assistant to the President or their designees must supply a copy of each completed Program Review to the department of University Planning for institutional tracking and accreditation purposes.


Employees who violate this policy are subject to discipline commensurate with the severity and/or frequency of the offense and may include termination of employment.


This policy does not apply to units within the Division of Academic Affairs, which are governed by Academic Affairs Policy #8.


The authority to interpret this policy is given to the president, who normally delegates it to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning.

Previous version: February, 2010
Approved by the President: April, 2002

Index Terms

Program Review
University Planning