Academic Program Review


Virginia Tech’s Academic Program Review process provides a mechanism for ongoing, systematic review of academic departments with the explicit purpose of fostering continuous improvement.  Unlike other reporting and review processes that focus on what departments have already accomplished (e.g., annual departmental reports) and/or meeting external standards (e.g., discipline-specific accreditation processes), Academic Program Review provides departments with an opportunity to develop a strong vision for where the department wishes to be in the future and how it will get there.  This process is designed to complement existing improvement processes.

Each academic department at Virginia Tech will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of its activities every five years.  The review schedule is set by the college deans and may vary slightly so as not to conflict with other processes such as discipline-specific accreditations.  The standard timeframe for data included in the self-study is the past five years.  The program review schedule can be found here

The focus of this review is the academic department inclusive of all degree and certificate programs, intercollege programs, online programs, etc.  Results will be archived by the Office of Assessment and Evaluation.  Administrative support for this process will be provided by the Office of Assessment and Evaluation, the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness, and other appropriate university offices.


As part of the Academic Program Review process, departments will complete a self-study report that is reviewed and evaluated by a team of internal reviewers.  [Note: A department may decide (at the department or college’s discretion and expense) to also include external reviewers on its review team.]  This self-study report is designed to encourage departments to reflect on their current operations, develop a vision for the future, and create and implement a plan for continuous improvement.  By providing an analysis of how the department is exceeding, meeting, or not meeting expectations in core areas, this report goes beyond describing departmental and program activities.  The analysis included in the report should be informed by data provided to the department from the Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness and collected from other sources, current trends in the field, and faculty interests.

The self-study report is not only designed to foster analysis and reflection, but discussion – discussion within the department, with the review team, and with the department’s respective dean.  Discussion within the department refers to conversations among instructional faculty, research faculty, administrative staff, representative students (e.g., majors and minors, undergraduate and graduate, full-time and part-time), and other stakeholders (e.g., alumni, industry) as appropriate.  The final written report is expected to be approximately 20-25 pages (not including data tables or other appendices).

Report Components

The Virginia Tech Academic Program Review self-study report has three major sections that correspond to the following three overarching questions:

  1. Where is the department now?
    • This section includes the department overview, academic program information, student learning information, faculty and staff profiles, and diversity and inclusion information.
  2. Where does the department hope to be in five years?
    • Vision related to various aspects of the department; examination of gaps between current and future status.
  3. How will the department get there?
    • Includes improvement strategies and implementation items

A more detailed listing of suggested elements can be found here.


Academic Program Review Resources

2016 - 2017 Review Cycle
Self-Study Report Template

2015 - 2016 Review Cycle
Self-Study Report Template


Academic Program Review Call for Internal Reviewers

The Office of Assessment & Evaluation invites interested faculty members and administrators from across Virginia Tech to apply to serve as internal reviewers for the Academic Program Review process.  Internal reviewers will provide departments with formative evaluation and feedback designed to guide departments’ continuous improvement efforts.  Review teams for each department participating in internal review will be finalized by the office in consultation with the chairs of the departments participating in Academic Program Review.  Peer reviewers may serve on a maximum of two review teams per academic year.  Internal reviewers will be compensated $500 per completed review. 

Additional details, including a timeline for internal review activities and the list of departments/programs participating in internal peer review during the fall 2016 semester, are available here.  Faculty and administrators interested in serving as an internal reviewer for Virginia Tech’s Academic Program Review process should complete this short application by April 15, 2016.