May 18-20, 2005
ITEM 127-108-R0505����������������� Policy 303.3 � Program Review; Revisions
THAT:�������������������������������������� The Montana Board of Regents of Higher Education approves the following extensive revision of Policy 303.3 � Program Review.� The revision does the following important things:
(1) places the primary responsibility for academic program review on the campuses that make up the Montana University System;
(2) requires the campuses to conduct a review every year on some portion of the academic programs offered by the institution; the results of that review will be reported to the Board of Regents every November;
(3) permits the campuses to use their periodic program accreditation visits, when appropriate, as the review mechanism under this policy;
(4) includes all majors, minors, options and many certificates, listed in the official degree and program inventory, in the program review process;
(5) establishes a seven-year program review cycle for all programs.� The current policy does not establish a specific cycle, but the past practice of the Board has been to conduct the review approximately every five years;
(6) establishes special review and documentation procedures for programs that appear to be unpopular, underutilized or inefficient.
EXPLANATION:����������������������� The Chief Academic Officers have discussed this policy for almost six months.� They urge the Board of Regents to adopt the revised policy for the following reasons:
� the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities expects institutions to review its programs as part of its educational assessment process.� This policy builds on that expectation, and reduces the number of repeated or duplicated program reviews conducted by the campuses and this Board.
� since several programmatic accreditation groups are now on a seven-year cycle, this policy follows that practice, again to avoid unnecessary duplication of program review efforts.� NCATE and its teacher education reviews is probably the most important example of that practice.
� the previous program review process created significant hardship and chaos on the campuses, even though it only came around every five years or so.� Programs were identified for Board review, even though they may have just completed an internal review; and the Regent review year always increased tensions and anxiety on the campuses, primarily because of �who� was doing the review.� Admittedly, the proposed policy may just spread that anxiety out over every year, but it is a process that the campuses are expected to do for their regional accrediting agency anyway.
� the previous program review process shifted the responsibility and the hard decisions to the Board of Regents and the Commissioner�s staff.� This policy places the responsibility on the shoulders of the campuses and their professional managers, where it belongs.� The Board still retains ultimate and final authority over the review process and the decisions that grow out of the process, however.
� the previous program review process placed a primary emphasis on program economics (e.g., numbers of graduates), with little to no consideration of program quality (e.g., program outcomes and assessment).� By including program quality as a reason for internal review, the Montana Board of Regents expects the campus processes to emphasize that goal.
ATTACHMENT:������������������������ Policy 303.3