Student Affairs Program Review Schedule

If you need help or advice with a specific program review you're working on, please contact Jonathan Stewart at

Why We Do Program Reviews (in order of importance):

  1. Help improve the department's contribution to the university's mission.
  2. Help improve departmental performance in support of the unit's mission, vision, and values.
  3. Help improve our service to our constituents.
  4. In compliance with university policy.
  5. In compliance with SACSCOC mandates for continuous performance improvement.
Program reviews will be conducted on a five-year cycle. A program review must follow the dates and deadlines assigned in the master schedule

Program Review Phases

Phase 1: Self-Study Phase
Phase 1 of each program review consists of a self-study led by the director that will occur over a 90-day timeframe. This self-study will include:

  • A review and update (if appropriate) of departmental mission, vision, values, and organizational chart.
  • An analysis of the department's performance against national standards. Please plan to use the Council for the Advancement of Standards in Higher Education (CAS) standards. However, the director, working with the AVP and committee co-chairs, will select the national standards to be referenced prior to the beginning of the review. This discussion will be held at the opening program review meeting. (Accreditation standards are applicable.)
  • A departmental SWOT analysis
  • An update of relevant policies or procedures
  • A review of recommendations established during the department's previous program review

The product of Phase 1 will be a "self-study binder" or report that will include, at least, the following content areas from the CAS Standards.

1. Mission:  This section identifies the purpose and essential characteristics of the functional area. It may also provide guidance on themes that are important to include in a mission statement for the functional area. Guidelines in this section may provide insight into how the functional area’s scope varies depending on institutional type or context. This section does not include details of specific program elements and/or services provided by the functional area.

2. Program and Services:  This section explains how the functional area is structured and what it does. It further outlines programs, services, and/or resources provided by the functional area, including pivotal aspects of the function’s performance.

3. Student Learning, Development, and Success:  This section explains how the functional area contributes to student learning, development, and success, how the approach aligns with a student learning and development model, and how these outcomes are measured.

4. Assessment:  This section addresses the functional area’s approach to assessment, including how it is conducted, analyzed, and used. It addresses the key assessment practices for this functional area.

5. Access, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion:  This section outlines the functional area’s role in advancing and maintaining access, equity, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and educational environments. It addresses fundamental requirements, philosophies, procedures, and/or approaches specific to the functional area.

6. Leadership, Management, and Supervision:  This section describes the responsibilities of functional area leaders, managers, and supervisors and how these individuals advance the work of the functional area. It may address initiatives that are key to the functional area’s success, which leaders must or should advocate on behalf of for their programs.

7. Human Resources:  This section covers who is employed by the functional area (including professional and paraprofessional staff and student employees and volunteers). This section discusses employee qualifications or credentials, the functional area’s employment practices, and personnel training and professional development. Communication and Collaboration

8. Communication and Collaboration:  This section identifies key collaborators and partners for the functional area and discusses how the functional area shares information and promotes its services. It identifies the key institutional offices/departments, or external organizations with whom the functional area should consult or engage. It may address considerations regarding outreach and information-sharing.

9. Ethics, Law, and Policy:  This section describes standards for ethical practice, points to key legal issues and obligations of practitioners, and outlines policies and procedures that are critical to the work of the functional area. This section may identify laws or policies specific to the functional area that should be followed to ensure compliance with institutional policy or with state, provincial, or federal law. This section also addresses required or recommended ethical considerations that are unique to the field.

10. Financial Resources:  This section provides an overview of important fiscal considerations for the functional area, including how programs and services must or should be funded; financial planning and accounting processes that may be necessary; and measures that must or should exist for accountability and sound management of financial resources.

11. Technology:  This section describes the role of technology in the functional area. It provides insight into the technological needs of the program, ways it is leveraged to engage users, and ongoing management of IT infrastructure.

12. Facilities and Infrastructure:  This section details the facilities, equipment, space, and other infrastructure needs of the functional area. It may address issues related to how or where the functional area should be physically located; requirements or restrictions related to space, sustainability, or safety; and considerations that may exist regarding equipment acquisition and/or use.

Phase 2: External Review
In Phase 2 of each review, an external review team will be identified, conduct its own research, and present a program review report. In this phase, key campus stakeholders must be given the opportunity to evaluate the department's programs and services. Additionally, the departmental director and AVP may identify one or two targeted topics of interest or concern for study by the program review committee. The size and make-up of the external review team are at the discretion of the departmental director and AVP.  

The external reviewers are off-campus experts in the department's work. They may be a paid external consultants or peers from other institutions. (For instance, the Director of Institutional Research at Virginia Tech was recently invited to conduct a review of JMU's Office of Institutional Research during its program review.) Costs associated with any payment related to the external review will be shared as needed between central and departmental budgets.

The Program Review Report

The program review co-chairs draft a report with the assistance of the committee members and in consultation with the AVP and director.


  1. Initial Meeting with AVP, Director, and Associate Director for Assessment 
    This meeting is led by the AVP of the unit being studied. The key participants review divisional program review requirements together, create the master schedule, determine national standards to be used, come to an agreement on the content of the study binder, and discuss the external review team. In essence, this meeting ensures that all of the review leaders are on the same page. It must be held by the scheduled date.
  2. Self-Study Begins
    The director begins the work of conducting the unit self-study according to divisional guidelines. This self-study may take up to 100 days and must be completed by the scheduled date.
  3. Second Meeting Between AVP, Director, and Associate Director for Assessment
    This meeting ensures that they key leaders are abreast of all of the activities related to the review. They also discuss any adjustments to be made to the plan and confirm the external review team. Additional meetings may be added as needed. 
  4. Draft Report to AVP and Associate Director for Assessment
    After the first draft of the self-study is created, it should be sent to the AVP and Associate Director for Assessment for review. The AVP and Associate Director for Assessment review the report carefully and provide feedback to the Director for improvement of the report. A final draft of the self-study must be completed a month in advance of the on-campus review. 
  5. The External Review Begins
    The external review team should receive the final draft of self-study at least 30 days prior to the on-campus review. The external review team will conduct a multi-day on-campus review of the program.  The Director, AVP, and Associate Director for Assessment will identify an on-campus host and work with the external review team to identify key stakeholders for the team to meet with during the review.  Note that meetings should not be limited to the on-campus review dates. The review team will have an additional 30 days to conduct research and submit their report.
  6. Action Plan Discussion
    The VP, AVP, Director, and Associate Director for Assessment will meet to discuss the external review teams recommendations. Departmental objectives will be decided and the director will begin writing an action plan. 
  7. Final Document
    The Director will incorporate the action plan into the program review documents and submit a final document to the VP, AVP, and Associate Director for Assessment. 
  8. Debriefing with Director and Department
    Following the approval of the recommendations, the director meets with the members of the department to review the program review process and report, with a particular emphasis on discussing the recommendations that became objectives and the implication of those objectives both for individual members of the department and the department as a whole.

Key Roles

Vice President for Student Affairs

  • Establish and monitor the division's program review policy and procedure
  • Read and analyze program review reports
  • At the conclusion of each review, meet with the unit AVP, director, and committee co-chairs to establish the list of resulting recommendations that the department will track using the university's planning database.

AVP (ultimately responsible for the effective review of relevant departments)

  • Oversee unit program reviews
  • Ensure deadlines are met
  • Meet with the unit director and committee chairs at stages throughout the process
  • Ensure that the review analyzes the entire unit performance (rather than just individual elements)
  • Review the self-study and offer advice and feedback
  • Meet with the vice president, director, and associate director for assessment at the conclusion of the review


  • Conduct/oversee the program review self-study
  • Generate the self-study binder for submission to the external review team
  • Coordinate the program review along with the associate director of assessment
  • Lead and/or participate in relevant meetings throughout the process
  • Write the action plan and oversee the implementation of recommendations

Associate Director for Assessment

  • Assist the VP with establishing and monitoring the division's program review policy and procedure
  • Establish deadlines and ensure they are met
  • Coordinate process for contracting external review team
  • Lead the analysis of the self-study binder
  • Assist with external review research efforts
  • Meet with the vice president, AVP, and director throughout the process

External Review Team

  • Review the self-study
  • Meet with key stakeholders and conduct research around key areas of interest identified in the self-study
  • Conduct multi-day on-campus review of the program
  • Write review document and recommendations

On-campus Host

  • Assist the associate director for assessment in coordinating travel for the external review team
  • Assist the director and review team in creating and sticking to an agenda for the on-campus review dates
  • Ensure space is reserved for meetings with key stakeholders throughout the on-campus review
  • Ensure the needs of the external review team are being met (adequate work space and access)

Program Review Intended Outcomes

  • To provide the department being reviewed with the opportunity to evaluate its operation and identify ways in which the department is functioning well and to identify areas in which functions may be improved.
  • To compare the department's status and performance with national standards (i.e., CAS),
  • To seek perspectives on the department's performance from campus constituents (staff, faculty, and students).
  • To provide the VP and the department's AVP with evaluative feedback about the department, suggestions for improvement, and a plan of action.

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