Creating an Effective Self-Study for Program Reviews

Feature Best Practices  Poor Practices
Goal / Purpose The self-study is aimed at quality improvement. Self-appraisal asks for analysis of strengths and weaknesses, and asks how improvements can be made. The self-study is aimed at defending or justifying the status quo.
 Focus The self-study focuses on the undergraduate /graduate programs (as required by the IQAP and Quality Assurance Framework). The self-study focuses on the academic unit (department), rather than on the undergraduate / graduate program.
Character / Nature of Report The self-study is reflective, analytical, self-critical and evaluative. The self-study is descriptive rather than reflective, analytical, self-critical and evaluative.
Treatment of Curriculum The curriculum is critically examined, with an eye to degree level expectations, learning objectives, learning outcomes, and change and improvement. The curriculum is described.
Degree Level Expectations / Learning Objectives / Outcomes The self-study expresses degree level expectations and learning objectives that operationally drive admission requirements, curriculum content, modes of delivery, bases of evaluation of student performance and commitment of resources. The self-study does not address or only superficially addresses degree level expectations, learning objectives or learning outcomes.
Treatment of Data Data are analyzed – for example, to use as the basis for performance evaluation.  Data analysis contributes to the assessment of strengths and weaknesses of the program. Raw data are attached as appendices, or used only in a descriptive manner.
Authorship The self-study results from a participatory self-critical process and documents involvement in its preparation of all faculty in the program, and of students. The self-study is written by the Chair, without evidence of buy-in (or sometimes even knowledge) of faculty and students.
Student Involvement The self-study shows active involvement of students in the agenda-setting, self-analysis and preparation of the Report. There is no evidence of active involvement of students in the preparation of the self-study.
Student Role Students contribute to the preparation of the self-study, as well as meet with the external reviewer(s). Students meet with the external reviewer(s), but have no input to the self-appraisal.
Student Survey A student survey provides another valuable source of input to the self-study. A student survey is either missing or conducted after the self-study is prepared, and so makes no input to that document.
Relationship to External Reviewer Mandate The self-study does address, and inform, all of the issues external reviewers are asked to review. The self-study does not address, or inform, all of the issues external reviewers are asked to review.
IQAP / Quality Assurance Framework The self-study does explicitly address each of the “elements” specified in the IQAP and Quality Assurance Framework. The self-study does not explicitly address each of the “elements” specified in the IQAP and Quality Assurance Framework.
Institutional Criteria The institution does specify the criteria of program quality used in its program review process. The institution does not specify the criteria of program quality used in its program review process.