Overview of Academic Review Process

1. Notification

Deans will be notified at least one semester ahead of the semester of their Academic Review (AR). To the extent possible, academic units are scheduled in logical groupings to facilitate college-level strategic planning. Deans are encouraged to develop and provide additional prompts, requests, and/or requirements for inclusion as additional components of an academic unit’s Self Study. Chairs/Directors whose programs are undergoing AR will be provided with either the Guidelines for Academic Departments or the Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Majors and may receive additional requests and/or prompts from their Dean for their Self Study.

Conversely, Chairs/Directors are encouraged to develop any additional desirable review components that they deem appropriate and to confer with their Dean prior to incorporating these into their Self-Study. Department Chairs/Directors with questions regarding the Academic Review process may contact the Interim Associate Vice President for Curriculum, Assessment and Accreditation Madhavi McCall (m[email protected], 619-594-5050).

NOTE: Professionally accredited programs may propose a modified approach to their AR that leverages existing efforts and reduces redundancies, while still meeting the spirit and intent of the process with respect to institutional priorities. If a professionally-accredited program is interested in a modified AR approach, then they may arrange a meeting with their Dean to develop a modified AR process and Self-Study design.

2. Selection of Site Visit Dates and Potential Review Team Members

Chairs/Directors should identify at least five preferred two-day Site Visit blocks (Monday/Tuesday or Thursday/Friday) during the scheduled review semester that will maximize participation of their faculty, students, and staff. Any blocks that are particularly problematic (e.g., dates of discipline-focused national meetings, etc.) should also be identified. These preferred and to-be-avoided dates should be provided to Jonathan Florendo ([email protected]; 594-4167) by the deadline indicated on the initial notification.

The typical Review Team comprises two external members from aspirational academic programs and one internal SDSU faculty member from outside the program’s college. This composition may be modified with approval of the Academic Affairs leadership team. Academic units shall submit Review Team nominations to Jonathan Florendo ([email protected]; 594-4167) by the deadline indicated in the initial notification.

External Reviewers: The Chair/Director shall submit a list of no fewer than eight external faculty from aspirational academic programs whom they consider well-qualified to serve as reviewers.

Internal Reviewers: The Chair/Director shall also submit the names of four tenured SDSU faculty members with appointments outside the college whom they consider well-qualified to serve on the Review Team. 

Each nomination should include a single-paragraph bio, an academic home page URL, and an email address. Nominated reviewers may not have close professional or personal relationships with faculty in the unit undergoing review; any potential conflicts of interest must be declared and discussed with the Dean’s office prior to their nomination.

3. Finalize Dates and Review Team

As soon as possible after receiving potential dates and names of reviewers, the interim AVP-CAA will work with the College leadership to finalize the dates of the unit’s academic review and the names of the review team. Review team members will be invited to participate by an email from either the interim AVP-CAA or the College Dean, depending on the College’s preferred practice. The interim AVP-CAA will work with the Provost Office to secure Academic Affairs Leadership Team participation for the site visit.

4. Production of the AR Documents

The Self-Study is the centerpiece of the AR process, enabling programs to develop a deliberate and inclusive approach to its development. The Self-Study (1) provides context for the academic unit’s mission, activities, ambitions, and priorities, (2) highlights recent achievements and progress, and (3) establishes future directions, opportunities, and challenges. This document provides a first impression of the academic unit to the Review Team, so it should be carefully developed and edited to provide a cohesive narrative with consistent voice, formatting, etc. The Site Visit Schedule may include sessions with faculty, staff, and students as appropriate, with at least two hours scheduled as private work sessions for the Review Team.

Templates for the Self-Study and the Site Visit Schedule are included in the Guidelines for Academic Departments and the Guidelines for Interdisciplinary Majors. Academic units are encouraged to confer with their Dean’s office regarding any additional prompts, requests, or requirements for the Self-Study. The Chair/Director shall provide final drafts of the Self-Study and Site Visit Schedule as Word files to their Dean’s office at least seven weeks prior to the Site Visit. These materials will be reviewed by the Dean’s office for completeness and any comments/suggestions/requests for revision shall be provided back to the Chair/Director within one week.

5. Distribution of Finalized AR Documents

Following Dean’s office approval of the Self-Study and Site Visit Schedule and at least four weeks prior to the Site Visit, the academic unit shall provide Word and pdf versions of the Self-Study and pdf version of any documents referred to in the Self-Study to Jonathan Florendo ([email protected]), who will share all finalized AR materials with relative parties across the campus and with members of the Review Team.

6. Schedule and Conduct of the Site Visit

The Site Visit is typically two days, beginning and ending with sessions between the Review Team and members of the Academic Affairs leadership team (i.e., Provost, VP of Research/Graduate Dean, and AVP - Academic Affairs, Student Achievement). Members of the unit are responsible for transporting out-of-town Review Team members to and from SDSU and other locations as well as planning and funding lunches and dinners. Hotel accommodations, travel reimbursements, and honoraria are arranged and covered by Academic Affairs.

7. Production and Dissemination of the Review Team Report

The Review Team will prepare an AR Report that represents their collective view of the strengths and weaknesses in each area of the Self-Study as well as recommendations regarding current and future opportunities and challenges. The Review Team shall submit its AR Report electronically within five weeks of the completion of the Site Visit, whereupon it will be provided to the Academic Affairs leadership team, the College Dean’s office, and the Chair/Director of the academic unit.

8. Response to Review Team Report

The Chair/Director of the academic unit may submit a written response to the AR Report within two weeks of receipt. The response may address each of the major findings and recommendations of the report as well as additional information.

9. Action Plan and Capstone Meeting

The Capstone Meeting between the academic unit’s Chair/Director, the Dean, and the Academic Affairs leadership team will be scheduled within six weeks of receiving the report by the Review Team. The outcomes of this meeting will be summarized by the Dean in the form of a draft Action Plan for finalization and endorsement by the Dean, Academic Affairs leadership team, and Chair/Director as a representative for the academic unit. The Dean will be responsible for scheduling any follow-up meetings regarding progress on this Action Plan.