Policy 5002
Program Review Plan and Compliance

Date of Current Revision: January 2016
Primary Responsible Officer: Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning


This policy establishes common program review components and requirements for non-Academic Affairs departments and/or offices. A separate Academic Affairs policy governs program reviews for areas within the Division of Academic Affairs.


The Board of Visitors has been authorized by the Commonwealth of Virginia to govern James Madison University. See Code of Virginia section 23-164.6; 23-9.2:3. The board has delegated the authority to manage the university to the president.


Core Quality
One of 11 primary aspirational descriptors that make-up the primary structure for achieving the university’s mission and vision. A core quality is a broad aspirational description and each is supported by three – seven university goals. Descriptions of the university’s core qualities, as well as other important strategic plan-related content can be found at: http://www.jmu.edu/jmuplans/corequalities/index.shtml.

Departmental Objective
A significant and measurable action in support of the university’s mission, the respective department’s mission and/or one or more university goals. Some objectives evolve from previous evaluation/assessment efforts. The JMU-STAR Tool contains instructions for writing good objectives.

Designated Unit
A department or office that has been determined by its respective vice president to be required to undergo a program review in accordance with this policy. The vast majority of departments and/or offices are designated units. In this policy, terms such as “department,” “office,” “unit,” or “designated unit” are used interchangeably.

The web-based application used for entering, tracking and reporting on objectives at JMU. It is available at the following link to those designated to enter and track objectives: https://jmu.xitracs.net/survey/portallogon.jsp.

The enduring purpose of the university: We are a community committed to preparing students to be educated and enlightened citizens who lead productive and meaningful lives. For the purposes of this policy, it may also refer to the particular department’s mission.

Program Review Committee
The group that assists in conducting the unit’s program review. The committee provides a third-party analysis of the designated unit’s self-study.

University Goal
One of 43 specific targets that were developed by the Madison Future Commission and approved by the president and senior leadership team in 2014 in support of the 11 core qualities.

The broadest, highest priority aspiration of the university: To be the national model of the engaged university; engaged with ideas and the world. For the purposes of this policy, it may also refer to the particular department’s vision. Information concerning the university’s vision can be found here: http://www.jmu.edu/jmuplans/engagement.shtml.


This policy applies to all non-Academic Affairs designated units.


All designated units will undergo a formal program review at least once every five years.


6.1 Program reviews measure the designated unit’s performance in helping to fulfill the mission, vision, core qualities and/or goals of the university. A review also measures the unit’s success at achieving its own mission.

6.2 Much of the program review process is a self-study, where the designated unit conducts a broad and detailed review of its policies, processes and performance.

6.3 While the organizational purposes and specific roles vary considerably for JMU’s many units, effective program reviews should include the following factors:

  • A review of the unit’s mission statement.
  • An intense review of the unit’s current overall performance, often represented in a detailed strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threats SWOT analysis.
  • Updating of key current and future objectives and verification that they are entered and tracked accurately in the JMU STAR Tool.
  • Updated budget processes and needs.
  • Updated job descriptions and performance management documents.
  • A study of key unit constituencies to reflect needs and the service quality provided by the unit.
  • The comparison of unit performance to a specific industry standard.
  • Updated documented departmental policies and procedures.
  • The implementation of the learning and improvement process, often reflected when evaluation of results methods are established and tracked for each departmental objective. Then, those results are used to improve future performance on related objectives. This cycle is particularly important in accreditation review.
  • Acknowledgement of significant successes and accomplishments.

6.4 The program review committee 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 respective vice president will determine how committee chairs and program review committees are conducted in their respective divisions.

6.5 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.

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

6.7 Recommendations that result from the program review and that are approved by the division vice president or designate must be entered into the unit’s JMU STAR Tool and tracked accordingly.


Vice presidents are responsible for ensuring that this policy is followed in their respective divisions.
Vice presidents or their designees must provide both a program review schedule as well as each program review report to the Office of Institutional Research for use in reaffirmation of accreditation.


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 areas 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, and is generally delegated to the Senior Vice President for Student Affairs and University Planning.

Previous version: March 2012
Approved by the President: April 2002

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