Dec 06, 2022  
2021-22 Faculty Handbook 

3.35 Review of Academic Programs

Program reviews serve the following purposes:

  • To ensure that the academic programs of the College remain strong, coherent and consistent;
  • To aid the College's long-range planning process of determining future curricular and faculty/staff needs by providing a central file of program analyses, plans, and aspirations;
  • To anticipate ongoing and future curricular and staffing needs within the individual disciplines;
  • To evaluate periodically departmental objectives and the definition and assessment of student learning outcomes; to revise curriculum and student learning outcomes based on assessment findings when appropriate;
  • To assume the appropriate Faculty control of curricular planning in line with the Faculty's responsibility under the by-laws of the College.

During the spring semester, the Faculty Executive Committee (FEC) Chair will notify departments/programs of their program review the following academic year and ask them to advise regarding the timing of the Review. It will be made clear that these are curricular reviews, not personnel reviews. The Dean of Faculty (DOF) will send a list of programs to be reviewed to the Registrar for the upcoming year. The Registrar will provide the predetermined set of statistics for the Review (see Section 3.37).

The FEC will appoint one of its members as the FEC representative to the Review. The FEC member will meet with External Reviewers when they come to campus and serve as a resource for discussion of the Review by the FEC.

Departments/programs will provide the Associate Dean with the names of at least 6 potential external reviewers, a rationale for their selection, and an explanation of what personal or professional relationship (if any) exists between members of the department/program and these individuals. This list will normally include recommended reviewers with substantial liberal arts college experience. The Associate Dean, in consultation with FEC, will select two External Reviewers from this list, at least one of whom has been identified as not having had a close personal or professional relationship with any of the members of the department/program. The Associate Dean and the FEC may consult with the department/program if additional names are needed.

No later than one month before their campus visit, the External Reviewers will receive the department/program self-study (see below), statistics from the Registrar's office (see end of this document), the link to the on-line Scripps College Catalog, and the curricula vitae of full-time, continuing faculty in the department/program.

The self-study produced by the department should have three parts: a descriptive section, an evaluative section, and a prospective section that considers the program's future. The department will send 1 hard copy and 1 electronic copy to the Associate DOF. A copy will be kept in the review files in the Dean of Faculty's office. The self-study should normally not exceed 30 pages.

  1. Description of the Program:
    The description should focus on the program itself; it also should address the program's relation to other aspects of the Scripps curriculum and aspects of curricular life at the Claremont Colleges. Data on enrollments, majors, minors, staffing class size, course load, thesis and advising loads and other such material for the review period, furnished separately by the Registrar, should also be integrated into the descriptive section. The department should address any recommendations or suggestions made in the previous program review.

    The descriptive section should be based on the following guidelines:
    1. Describe the program's offerings, taking into account such aspects as: enrollments (Scripps and off-campus), class size, number of courses, distribution between introductory and advanced courses, the usage and frequency of independent study courses, majors, minors, advising, and theses. Review the recent history of the program. What new directions have been taken and what new courses have been offered since the last review? Discuss the rationale for these changes in the context of the yearly assessment of student learning.
    2. Describe the program's faculty resources (e.g., full-time faculty, part-time faculty, leaves, leave replacements, retirements, resignations, and/or APT decisions). Describe the professional interests (research, performance or production) of each faculty member and how these contribute to the curriculum. Explain the ways faculty resources are distributed in terms of: introductory and advanced courses, independent study courses, responsibilities to the Core and to other college requirements, theses, major and minor advising, first-year advising and committee work. To what degree and in what particular ways is the program's curriculum planned ahead in order to ensure course availability and the consistent sequencing of courses?
    3. Describe the learning outcomes at the departmental level. Do they need to be revised or elaborated? Discuss what evidence the department is using to  determine how/if these departmental learning outcomes are being achieved, how the department interpreted assessment of the evidence, and how the department developed and implemented an action plan to respond to the assessment. That is, how will the department know it is being successful in accomplishing its learning objectives? What additional forms of evidence should be included to assess better the effectiveness of the curricular objectives?
    4. Describe the nature of the program's cooperation with relevant departments at the other Claremont Colleges. Distinguish whether the program is self-supporting, joint or cooperative and describe the extent to which and the ways in which faculty members from the different departments cooperate. To what extent and in what ways are Scripps majors and minors dependent on courses at the other Claremont Colleges? What is the nature of the dependence on the Scripps program by majors and minors from the other Colleges? Does the department engage with co-curricular or extra-curricular programs?
    5. In what ways does the program service the College's requirements (e.g., Core, Breadth of Study, Race and Ethnicity, Gender and Women Studies, Foreign Language, Mathematics)? To what extent does the program furnish courses for other majors and minors, and/or lend itself to meshing with other programs for dual majors?
    6. Discuss the adequacy of library and/or informational technology resources to the department's needs. In addition, describe the use of supplemental resources such as facilities, equipment, library resources, technology, language assistants, and/or study abroad programs. Describe any projects in the context of supplemental resources the program has undertaken since the last review, and discuss the rationale for these projects.
    7. Discuss information literacy as it relates to the major; how are the students progressing in relation to information literacy. How are students determining the nature and extent of information needed for their work?; Do they have the skills to access the needed information?; and Are they able to evaluate information and determine if it is appropriate and meaningful to their scholarship?
  2. Evaluation of the Program
    The evaluative section, which should be based on the program description, should focus on the program's strengths, weaknesses, and needs; it should also address issues that will require resolution in the near future. The evaluation should speak to the program's effectiveness and achievements within its own area of teaching, and also within the broader Claremont Colleges context. Shortcomings also should be taken into account, along with a description of proposed improvements and what would be necessary to make these improvements possible.
  3. Goals:
    This final section should address short- and long-range aspirations and plans for the future of the program.

    In consultation with the FEC representative, the department will arrange for the External Reviewers to meet with appropriate people during the one-day, on-campus visit, including the Dean or Associate Dean of Faculty, the FEC representative, all the full-time faculty of the program, any regular, on-going, part-time faculty in the program, and students. A meeting will be scheduled between the External Reviewers and students who are majors and minors or who have undertaken significant work in the program. Student input is a valuable component of the review. The department Chair should send copies of the Review schedule to the Dean of Faculty's office two weeks prior to the campus visit of the External Reviewers. It is expected that department or program faculty meet individually and as a group with the External Reviewers.

    The External Reviewers should submit their Report to the Associate DOF within one month of the conclusion of their campus visit. This report is forwarded to the department Chair and to the FEC by the Associate DOF. Within two weeks of receipt of this Report, the department Chair, in consultation with all members of the department, may submit to FEC a response to the Report, indicating any errors of fact or raising other issues pertinent to the recommendations of the External Reviewers. FEC will consider this response along with all other supporting documents of the review.

    FEC examines the self-study document, the External Reviewers' Report, the department's response to the External Reviewers' Report, if any, and any other relevant materials. FEC writes a letter with its conclusions and recommendations to the department. This letter concludes the Review and shall be considered by FEC in future academic planning. Details of the Review will not be included in the FEC minutes. The department should consider all materials as well as the FEC letter in its own curricular planning.


Spring semester:

FEC notifies departments of review the following year.

No later than six weeks before the External Reviewers' campus visit:

Department completes self-study for distribution and provides it to the Associate DOF (1 hard copy and 1 electronic copy).

No later than one month before the External Reviewers' campus visit:

The Associate Dean sends review materials to External Reviewers.

No later than two weeks before the External Reviewers' campus visit:

Department submits the draft on-campus visit schedule to the Associate DOF (including but not limited to open and closing meetings with the DOF, FEC liaison, individual and departmental member meetings, student sessions, meeting with Core Director).

Within one month of conclusion of campus visit:

External Reviewers submit report to the Associate DOF.

Within two weeks of receipt of External Reviewers' Report:

Department may submit response to Report to the FEC.

Statistics for the Program Review

Statistical data, as follows, will be compiled by the Registrar's Office for the department under review for each year in the period since the last Review.

  • Number of students in courses by faculty member by semester:
    • further broken down by Scripps students and Off-Campus enrollment
    • average class size
  • Number of graduates - major, minor, double, dual by year:
    • number of majors by semester
    • number of students taking courses off campus for the major being reviewed by course by semester
  • Listing of the general education requirements fulfilled by courses within the department
  • Number of senior theses advised by faculty member:
    • further broken down by first and second readers
    • further broken down by major
  • Number of independent studies by year and by faculty
  • Number of advisees by faculty member by semester:
    • Further broken down by major advisees and first-year advisees
  • Core participation by faculty by year and by course