Academic Program Review


An academic program review should be forward-looking, inform strategic directions, and include proposed changes to improve the academic program and ensure student success. Following completion of the program review, the department offering the program should formulate a set of recommended action steps to implement over the next five to seven years with the intent of continuous improvement.

Purpose and Timing

The Iowa Board of Regents requires departments/units to complete academic program reviews on a seven-year cycle. Programs with specialized or programmatic accreditation (i.e. ABET, AACSB) may use their accreditation review to fulfill this purpose. Regular academic program reviews provide a mechanism for faculty to evaluate the effectiveness, progress, and status of academic programs. Reviews also help to ensure that the department’s mission and operations are consistent with the institution’s mission and strategic plan.

Process and Responsibility

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost (SVPP) provides coordination and guidance on various aspects of the process. Annually, the Associate Provost for Academic Programs and college Associate Deans for academics confirm the schedule for program reviews for the following two academic years. An institutional timeline and SVPP Office contacts for major steps of the review process is provided. As well, some colleges have additional timelines that must be considered.

The review process includes the following:

  • preparing a self-study document
  • selecting a 2-3 person team of external reviewers
  • a site visit completed by the external review team
  • submitting a response to the external review team’s report to the Office of the Dean and Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost, and
  • revisiting progress on action plans via a mid-cycle review report 3-4 years after the review team visit.

The Iowa State University Academic Program Review Structure and Process provides details on this institutional requirement.

The Office of the Senior Vice President and Provost provides resources and information about program assessment.



Tom Brumm and students in a lab


Kelsey Gillen,
Director of Academic Quality and Undergraduate Education,