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Program Review Resources

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Writing the Program Review Report

Program Review reports are the most important way that the findings and recommendations of the program review process are communicated to the unit head, AVP, and to the Senior Vice President for Administration & Finance.

The report should be thorough enough to reflect the depth of work of the committee but should not be so page-heavy as to be counter productive.

The report should answer basic questions:

  • Specifically, how did the committee conduct research in support of the self study?
  • What findings/conclusions were drawn as a result of the research? (What appears to be true about the unit, particularly in relation to its mission, vision, and values?)
  • What recommendations does the committee suggest in concert with the unit head to make improvements in the unit's performance?

Please note that committee chairs have access to abridge versions of reports. It can be helpful to review the reports that were generated by previous program reviews, not only to see how the report is structures, but also to get ideas on how research can be best targeted to the unit's constituency.

Elements of the Report

Section 1: Executive Summary

The executive summary should be written so that, if a reader only read this section, he or she would still have a good idea concerning how the program review was conducted and what changes are being recommended as a result.

  • Provide a brief overview of the report process including a very general introduction and a very brief overview of the research methodology
  • List the important/relevant findings and/or conclusions that came about as a result of the review of the self-study as well as the research conducted by the committee.
    • A finding of conclusion is a statement concerning what appears to be true about the unit's performance, whether that is a positive statement ("Customers appear to agree that the unit provides prompt service....") or a statement reflecting a gap ("The frequency of incoming phone calls going to voice mail represents a challenge to customer service goals.")
      • Finding: A statement of fact or discovery as a result of research. This can be "positive," "negative," reflect change, etc.
  • Perhaps the most important part of the report consists of the recommendations. These include specific steps/initiatives/improvements that the committee feels should be considered in order to improve the unit's performance.
    • Recommendation: A specific suggestion that, if carried out, would likely result in improved unit quality/performance
    • Recommendations:
      • Should be specific
      • Should not be overly concerned with funding.
      • Should be connected to findings
      • Should address such issues as:
        • Additional budget
        • Added positions
        • Change in policies/procedures
        • Change in internal processes
        • Etc.

Section 2: Primary Report

In the primary report, the committee co-chairs should expand the scope of the report to provide full details. The Primary Report includes:

  • Introductory Statement
  • Overview
    • Include a more detailed description of the program review process including a description of the methodology and a summary of the key issues from the       unit's self study.
    • Mission, vision, values of unit
      • Since the mission, vision, and values of the unit provide the basis by which performance is measured in the program review, that information should be included in the report.
    • Key elements of SWOT analysis
      • List the predominant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats as reported as a result of the SWOT analysis.
  • Program Review Committee (Name, department, committee role)
  • Research - The purpose of the research section is to describe what research was completed by the program review committee and how each research      subcommittee completed its work.
    • Overview
    • Research Subcommittee #1
      • Description
    • Research Subcommittee #2
      • Description
    • Research Subcommittee #3
      • Description
    • Etc.
  • Findings/Conclusions Supplement – If there are details of findings/conclusions that weren't considered strong enough to include in the executive summary but are still considered important, those should be listed.
  • Recommendations (arising from findings/conclusions) - If there are additional recommendations that were not considered primary but the committee feels are worth consideration, they should be listed here.

Section 3:  Appendices

The appendices are where the reports from the individual subcommittees and the raw data should be included. The appendices may include any or all of the following:

  • Findings/Recommendations from Subcommittee #1
  • Findings/Recommendations from Subcommittee #2
  • Findings/Recommendations from Subcommittee #3
  • Etc.
  • External Reviewers Report
  • Raw data from Subcommittee #1
  • Raw data from Subcommittee #2
  • Raw data from Subcommittee #3
  • Etc.