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Academic Program Review

The Purpose of Academic Program Review

Academic program review (APR) within the Division of Academic Affairs is common practice in most colleges and universities and is an essential component of institutional and program accreditation processes. A national movement toward promoting outcome assessment has shaped how faculty members approach the review of their programs, particularly in relation to student learning outcomes assessment.

To improve the quality of teaching and learning, APR should increase faculty members' awareness of their educational goals and practices. It should encourage identification of successful areas of the program as well as those requiring change.

To be effective, an APR requires:

  • a clear specification of desired educational outcomes
  • evidence of achievement
  • documentation of strategic planning and its implementation

James Madison University firmly believes that periodic structured reviews are necessary for thoughtful reflection on program outcomes and for possible external consultation on key program issues. The APR process should not be initiated or viewed solely as a response by administrators to external constituencies or a crisis situation, but to the ultimate goal of improving the program.


James Madison University (JMU) recognizes the need for APR to demonstrate program effectiveness for students, to require data necessary for allocation of resources and to be responsive to constituents throughout the university community. Each area within the Division of Academic Affairs conducts an APR; the type of APR depends on the type of unit conducting the review. For descriptions of the types of APR, click "more info" below.

Degree Granting and Other Academic Areas  + more info

External Accreditation  + more info

Academic Administrative Areas  + more info

APR is a continuous process that recognizes the importance of faculty reflecting on the effectiveness of how they advise and teach, resulting in continual modifications to courses and programs. This continuous process is reinforced at JMU through:

  • University mission, vision, values and performance measures  as documented in the JMU-Star tool
  • University six-year plan and Institutional Performance Standards (IPS)
  • Core Qualities
  • Academic unit and college annual planning and reporting processes
  • Student outcomes and Assessment Progress Template (APT)

If you have questions about the APR process, contact Dr. Jeanne Martino-McAllister.