Program Review

Program Review is a process mandated by the Montana Board of Regents (BOR Policy 303.3) "to ensure program quality and effective stewardship of resources." The process occurs on a seven-year cycle.

All programs listed in the Montana University System Degree and Program Inventory are subject to the Program Review process. This includes options and minors associated with those degree programs and certificates of more than 30 credits.

Purpose of Program Review

  • to foster academic excellence at all levels;
  • to determine ways to improve the quality of every unit; and
  • to provide guidance for administrative decisions in support of continued future advancement.

Program Review Process

1. Prepare and Submit a Self-Study Report (BY MAY 31)

  • Prepare the report based on the Self-Study Guidelines.
  • The report should be approved by the Dean, then submitted electronically to the Provost's office by the deadline (Sept. 30). It will be distributed to the external reviewer and the Graduate Council (if there is a graduate component).
  • The department will also submit a list of five potential external reviewers ranked by order of preference (by September 1). The list of potential reviewers should not include anyone with a perceived conflict of interest, for example, former students or close collaborators. They should be selected based on the program’s characteristics (doctoral, masters, baccalaureate) and aspirations. Please take into consideration travel costs when formulating the list.

2. The External Evaluator's Visit (November-December)

  • External Review Guidelines
  • The Evaluator will review the self-study and visit campus for one and a half to two days. In some cases (e.g. standalone minors) the review may be conducted remotely.
  • The department/program is responsible for scheduling the visit and providing an agenda to the reviewer.
  • The Office of the Provost does not provide the honorarium. The program must work with the Dean's office to provide the reviewer with a modest honorarium upon receipt of their report (typically $500 for an on-site review and $250 for a remote review).
  • The interviews should include:
    • Time with students (undergraduate and graduate, if applicable)
    • Individual meetings with the chair/director and individually with each faculty member
    • Individual meetings with one or two outside faculty members who work closely with the program
    • A meeting with the Dean(s) of the programs' school or college
    • A meeting with the Dean of the Graduate School (if the program has a graduate component)
    • A meeting with the Provost and Vice Provost
    • An informal reception for students and faculty members

3. Follow-up Meeting and Action Plan

  • The evaluator will send their five to seven page review directly to the Office of the Provost. It will be distributed to the Chair/Director, the Dean, and the Graduate Council (if a graduate program).
  • The Dean and Provost will meet with the Chair/Director to discuss the results of the review and to act on recommendations.
    • Discussion of the overall review process and the Chair's response to what was learned through the review
    • Specific responses from the chair to the issues raised in the reviewer's report
    • Identification and prioritization of strategic directions for the future
    • Agreement to develop an action plan

Questions? Contact Zooey Zephyr (243-2402) or Vice Provost Nathan Lindsay (243-4689)