What are program reviews and academic audits? In order to evaluate and improve the quality of academic programs, all programs in the university participate in either program review, academic audit, or accreditation. Non-accredited undergraduate and graduate programs are evaluated on a 7-year calendar. Departments conduct a self-study, which is one tool that outside reviewers use to evaluate the programs. Site visits of one or two days allow them to gather additional information from stakeholders of the program. The reviewers report their findings through completing the appropriate checklist and writing a narrative including recommendations for improvement.
What is the difference between an academic audit and a program review? Departments have the option to choose between a program review and an academic audit for evaluation of non-accredited programs. These reviews take place once in each 7-year cycle and involve peers from other academic institutions. Audits focus on the process of teaching and learning, not on disciplinary content. Therefore, auditors do not necessarily have knowledge of the discipline, but instead are trained in the academic audit process. Tennessee auditors are all from within the state. Program reviewers, on the other hand, have no required formal training, but are always professionals in the discipline. Both in-state and out-of-state reviewers are selected for program review. Program reviewers provide feedback from a disciplinary perspective, and therefore explore specifics of curricula, teaching, and resources, with an eye toward disciplinary needs. Both academic audit and program review require that departments write a self-study, but only the audit expects that self-study to include departmental plans for future improvements. Site visits are required for both program review and audit, during which the auditors/reviewers meet with individuals involved in the program and the institution to further gather information on program strengths and weaknesses.
What do reviewers and auditors look at? Program review and academic audit checklists provide the outline for peer reviewers’ evaluation of programs.
How do we write our departmental self-study? The Program Review Handbook and the Academic Audit Handbook provide detailed instructions on writing the self-study. Please contact the Office of Assessment and Teaching if you have any questions.
How do I contact the Office of Assessment & Teaching? You can call us at 423.439.7484 or email Cheri Clavier.