Loyola University Chicago

Office of Institutional Effectiveness

Academic Program Review

Loyola Policy for Academic Program Reviews

The overall purpose of the Academic Program Review (APR) process at Loyola is to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of each academic unit and its various programs and to stimulate collaborative strategic program planning and improvement. The periodic review process is also intended to facilitate the integration of the unit’s goals with the university’s priorities and strategic plans. Academic Program Review is an important part of an ongoing campus-wide conversation about teaching and learning and how all of our current and future students can be transformed through their Loyola experiences. 

The Academic Program Review (APR) process will be one of reflection and planning. The faculty of the academic units are expected to conduct a process of studying data, self-reflection, evaluation, and critical analysis of where they are and where they seek to be in the next five years. Units should seek to evaluate their current status in order to develop questions whose answers can guide strategic planning and be measurable over time. In all of this, the units should reflect and plan against the backdrop of the Mission of the University, the goals of the University’s Strategic Plan, the student learning outcomes goals for graduate and undergraduate education, and the level of institutional support that is realistic at this time and space.

The process is highly collaborative utilizing the experience and insights of program faculty, staff, students, administrators, faculty peers from other programs, and in some cases the perspectives of consultants external to the university. The process will be iterative, entailing the gathering and synthesizing of data--making maximum use of previous reviews, accreditation, evaluations, and assessments of student learning. It will use data from institutional resources, the unit itself, benchmarks in the discipline and other internal and external resources of relevance to the review. 

At Loyola, the Office of the Provost, in consultation with the Council of Deans, identifies the units to participate in APR in a specific academic year.  Unit leaders and faculty discuss and draft a Self-Study plan in consultation with a Provost-appointed Academic Program Review (APR) Committee. For a specific unit’s APR, faculty and staff will collaboratively conduct the Self-Study and produce a written report of findings.  The unit’s APR report will be reviewed by the APR Committee who provides recommendation to the unit, the Dean and the Provost.  The Provost will study and provide the unit with additional feedback. Based on their APR report, APR Committee recommendations and the Provost’s consultation, each unit working with their Dean will then prepare, implement and monitor a five-year Action Plan.  The process aims to move the work of units towards consistent excellence and continuous improvement in fostering student learning and success.  

APR Self-Study requires faculty and staff to collaboratively compile evidence on the success of students in their curricular programs in relation to the experiences and supports they provide for these students.  The success of students must be measured in accordance to the Program Learning Objectives and with other overarching University outcome metrics (for example in relation to retention, diversity, current strategic planning outcomes). The program faculty and staff then make the time to analyze findings and self-reflect on the successes and challenges uncovered. Together they produce a written report of their findings.