Academic Program Review

Undergraduate & Graduate



Purpose of Academic Program Reviews

Program1 review is a systematic way to assess the quality of the University of Michigan-Dearborn’s academic programs. In higher education, program reviews have five general purposes: quality assurance, quality improvement, accountability, identification of strategies for improvement, and information collection and synthesis to facilitate prioritization of resources.2 The results of this process allow the program, department, college and institution to review findings, develop responses, and make strategic decisions regarding program direction, emerging trends in the field, and future program expansion or contraction. It is intended to be a comprehensive, coherent analysis that charts a path for program improvement. Program review therefore serves the following purposes:


 Program review is evaluative. Program review requires academic judgment and evaluation regarding the quality of the program and the adequacy of its resources in teaching students. Essential to that judgment and evaluation is the assessment of program quality and capacity by peers and recognized experts in the discipline or field.


 Program review is forward-looking. The focus of program review is on the improvement of the program, not simply the documentation of its current status and faculty activities. High-quality program reviews make specific recommendations for future changes based on the analysis and synthesis of data and then discuss those recommendations in relation to the long-range plans of the department, college and institution.


  Programs review emphasizes academic strength and improvement. All issues, data and elements should be considered in relation to impact on the quality of the academic program and improvements that will allow the program to better serve students.


Program review emphasizes an objective process. Faculty are required to evaluate as objectively as possible their own programs in the creation of a self-study. External faculty and experts review the self-study, gather additional data and make their own evaluations and recommendations as a part of the external review. Well-analyzed and impartial internal self-studies and external reviews are essential to high-quality program review.


[1] The University of Michigan-Dearborn defines a “program” as any series or sequence of courses that when successfully completed results in the issuance of a degree or diploma from that program by the University Registrar.

[2] Assessment and Review of Graduate Programs: A Policy Statement. 2005. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools.