5 Self-Study

The completion of the Self-Study Report is the heart of the review.

Program review is an evidence-based inquiry, and the Self-Study Report is a tool for stimulating conversations and questioning assumptions about program performance. Topics addressed in the Self-Study Report often include program context, curriculum and assurance of learning, student achievement, governance and resources, planning, and sustainability.

We encourage program review teams to produce a frank, balanced, comprehensive self-evaluation. It is a comprehensive analysis about the program, by the program. The Self-Study Report should reflect the involvement and consultation of faculty, staff, and students.

Instructions for Program Review Teams

Timeline: May 15 – December 1

Due Date: December 1

  1. Read Module 5 in the Program Review Handbook
  2. Complete the program self-study report using the template provided.
  3. Submit the completed self-study report and appendices to your Dean for approval.
  4. Submit the completed self-study report to the office of quality assurance at least six weeks in advance of your scheduled external review site visit. Note that the self-study report and appendices will be shared with the external reviewers at least four weeks prior to the site visit.

Note: At the start of each cohort in the spring, the office of quality assurance submits a bulk data request to the office of institutional research for program-specific student enrollment and achievement data, as well as a department-level summary course evaluation report. This ensures that institutional research has sufficient time to gather the data and provide customized reports for each program. The data will be provided to program review teams no later than December 1 for inclusion in the Self-Study Report.


Writing the Self-Study

When writing the Self-Study Report be mindful to explain things as they are and indicate if the program has plans for the future. The purpose of the program review is to identify opportunities for improvement; therefore, the Self-Study Report is not an effort in public relations, but rather a way to develop pathways to program improvement. 

Plan for three to four months to complete the report. In general, responses to each question should be a couple of paragraphs in length.

Honesty and clarity are hallmarks of a good self-study. If the program does not mention shortcomings, or glosses over problems, then these problems cannot be dealt with in the Action Plan (Module 7). Resist completing questions just to complete the question. For instance, the program should not quickly develop a mission statement just to add it to the Self-Study Report. Instead, it is suggested that a simple and truthful, “The program does not have a mission statement” is a better answer. By being truthful it allows the program, and the external reviewers, to discuss the issue in a productive manner.

A quality assurance practitioner reviews a draft of the Self-Study Report and offers suggestions for clarification at least six weeks prior to the external review site visit. The Self-Study Report is then shared with the External Reviewers four weeks in advance of the site visit.

Optional “By Request” Self-Study Workshop

The office of quality assurance offers a three-hour Self-Study Workshop by request that can be customized for each program review team. The Workshop provides protected time and space for program faculty to reflect upon the self-study report questions and generate responses. An overview of the Workshop and agenda are available in the following PDF: By Request Self-Study Workshop (PDF)


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Program Review Handbook Copyright © by Alana Hoare; Catharine Dishke Hondzel; and Shannon Wagner is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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