DePaul University Academic Affairs > Leadership Resources > Assessment & APRC > Academic Program Review > Process


​​​​​The comprehensive schedule for Program Review includes a multi-year megacycle encompassing all colleges'/schools' degree-granting programs, the Liberal Studies Program, and centers/institutes supporting academic endeavors. The following information describes the process of review, including the schedule of units undergoing review, the documents produced, and the various review steps.

For more information, please visit the APR Guidebook.

For more information about these documents, please see section V of the APR Guidebook. Unit refers to entity conducting APR, whether that is a single degree program, department, school, and/or college.

  1. The Program Profile (PP) provides an opportunity for the unit to summarize the current status of its academic program(s), including its (1) relation to the university mission and nature of support and/or collaboration with other academic units; (2) program goals and learning outcomes; (3) student and faculty demographics; (4) faculty expertise, expectations, and support; and (5) student advising, co- and extra-curricular activities, and career development opportunities. It includes an analysis of data provided by the university, as well as relevant Program Portfolio Review (PPR) data. The Profile highlight opportunities to further examine questions of concern or opportunity, many of which may already be in discussion within the unit. It also provides an opportunity for the unit to review and revise its learning outcomes and curriculum map, as needed. The profile is submitted December 20, Year 1.
  2. The Unit's Research Plan (URP) outlines the particular areas that the unit will focus on during its self-study, and the data that will be needed. An assessment of student work for one or more learning objectives should be built into the URP. The plan is submitted at the end of April, Year 1.
  3. The Unit’s Research Report (URR) provides answers to the questions in the Research Plan based on an analysis of the data and geared towards informing decisions for ongoing program improvement.. Unlike the Program Profile, its purpose is not to describe the unit and its activities but to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of the unit and the opportunities and challenges that it faces as it prepares for the future. This document is submitted no later than December 15, Year 2.
  4. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): This document, based on the findings of program review, identifies actions that will be taken by the unit to improve the academic quality of its academic program(s). Signed by the unit’s Self-Study Team Chair, Department Chair or Program Director, College Dean, APRC Director/Chair, Associate Provost for Student Success and Accreditation, and the University Provost, the MOU acknowledges the unit’s strategic plans and resource support priorities for academic improvement. The MOU signing takes place by the end of spring quarter, Year 2. Along with its MOU, each unit will submit an Assessment Planning document that will identify future assessment goals.
  5. Progress Report: One year and five years after the signing of the MOU, the unit reports on the steps it has taken to implement the MOU and the status of steps yet to be taken.

MegaCycle 3: Fall 2017–Spring 2027

Cycle Program
Cycle 1: Fall 2017–Spring 2019 College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences (LAS) Humanities Programs
Cycle 2: Fall 2018–Spring 2020 College of Computing & Digital Media
Cycle 3: Fall 2019–Spring 2021 College of Science & Health (CSH) Natural Sciences, Health Sciences, and Mathematics Programs
Cycle 4: Fall 2020–Spring 2022 Driehaus College of Business (Undergrad and KGSB) 
Cycle 5: Fall 2021–Spring 2023 Liberal Studies Program (including Honors)
Cycle 6: Fall 2022–Spring 2024 College of Education (Undergraduate and Graduate), Art School, and The Theatre School
Cycle 7: Fall 2023–Spring 2025 LAS Interdisciplinary Programs (Undergraduate) and School of Music
Cycle 8: Fall 2024–Spring 2026 LAS Interdisciplinary Programs (Graduate) 
Cycle 9: Fall 2025–Spring 2027 College of Law, College of Communication, CSH School of Nursing, CSH Department of Psychology, and School of Continuing & Professional Studies
Cycle 10: Fall 2026–Spring 2028 LAS Master’s of Social Work, LAS Social Sciences, and LAS School of Public Service and Public Policy Studies Program 
Cycle 11: Fall 2027- Spring 2028 HLC-NCA Preparation and Review and Revision of APR and Annual Assessment of Student Learning (AASL) Processes

Preparation (Spring prior to Year I)

- The APRC Director/Chair notifies deans and unit chairs/directors of the upcoming program review; unit chairs/directors meet with the APRC Director/Chair, APR Research Analyst, and Associate Provost for Student Success and Accreditation to discuss the APR process, data collection and support, and Fall orientation of self-study teams.

Phase I: Program Profile (Year 1)


- Unit identifies its self-study team. The APRC Director/Chair orients the unit chair and unit self-study team to the purpose, requirements, and timeline of program review.

- An APRC Subcommittee is identified for each unit starting review and contacts the unit self-study team to review the work ahead and offer APRC support.

- The Research Analyst and IRMA staff meet with self-study team to present and review university data available to the unit.

- A draft of the Program Profile is submitted to the APRC Chair/Director and the unit’s APRC subcommittee in early December for feedback. Feedback is provided to the unit by January 15.


- A final draft of the Program Profile is submitted to the APRC by mid-February for discussion at its Winter meeting. APRC feedback is provided to the unit by early Spring term.

Phase II: Research Plan (Year 1)


- The Unit’s Research Plan is submitted to the APRC by late April for discussion at its Spring meeting. APRC feedback is provided to the unit by late Spring term, with an outline of data collection support available to the unit during the summer and fall.

- Unit provides the Associate Provost with a prioritized list of potential external reviewers (at least 5 names with contact information) by end of Spring term.

- Unit provides faculty CVs in electronic format (MS Word or PDF format).

- The APRC Director/Chair solicits feedback to the unit’s research plan from its Dean and Academic Affairs, including requesting they identify issues not identified in the plan.This early feedback is designed to ensure all parties identify issues or concerns early in the process so that they may be given full consideration during the self-study.

Phase III: Implementing the Unit’s Research (Self-Study) (year II)


- The Self-Study Team conducts the unit’s self-study according to its Research Plan.

- Throughout the self-study phase, regular communication between the Self-Study Team and the APRC Subcommittee is strongly encouraged to keep everyone aware of the direction being taken and of the progress being made. In particular the APRC subcommittees should act as internal consultants and help units identify areas of the study and/or report (if any) that: (a) are in need of clarification; (b) seem to be at variance with the unit's approved Research Plan, including the Self-Study Guidelines; (c) make claims without sufficient supporting data; and/or (d) have been addressed but with no suggestion of possible initiatives, if needed.

- The Associate Provost contacts potential external reviewers, orients them to the review process, schedules their visits in consultation with the unit under review and sends the external reviewers the unit’s Program Profile, Research Plan, faculty CVs, and any other relevant materials.

- The Unit’s Research Plan is written and submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by December 15. The APRC Director/Chair distributes copies to the APRC, the unit’s Dean, and Academic Affairs. If the unit undergoes a regular professional/discipline specific accreditation visit, it will submit a copy of the latest report from the accreditation team. In cases where elements of the accreditation report document are confidential, those parts will be excised.

- The Associate Provost sends the unit’s Research Report to the external reviewers for those units undergoing external review.

Phase IV: External review and feedback (Year II)


- For those units undergoing external review, the reviews take place in January or early February. External reviewers’ reports are submitted by March 1. Reports are distributed to the Provost, the APRC Director/Chair, the unit dean, the unit’s self-study team leader and the unit’s chair/director. The APRC Director/Chair will distribute to the APRC.

- In early March, the APRC Director/Chair solicits feedback from the Provost and Dean on the unit’s research report and external reviewers’ report in advance of the APRC’s Winter meeting (see next item). The Dean is invited to meet with the APRC to discuss any relevant information that can inform the APRC’s feedback to the Research Plan and External Reviewers’ Report.

- The APRC reviews all program review and external reviewer reports. Prior to this meeting the APRC subcommittees develop drafts of responses and suggestions for MOU items for the units. The full APRC is expected to read all of the executive summaries of the reports that have been submitted; the subcommittees are responsible for reading the full reports of the units assigned to them.

Following the APRC Winter meeting, the APRC Director/Chair writes a response to the unit Research Report and External Reviewers’ Report, offering comments/suggestions regarding the major issues raised through program review and serving as a starting point for conversations leading to the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU).

Phase V. Planning for the future: developing the Memorandum of Understanding (Year II)


- The unit’s self-study team meets with its Dean and Chair/Director to discuss issues, concerns, and initiatives in the College/School and University relevant to the writing of the  MOU.

- The APRC feedback to the unit’s Research Report and External Reviewers’ Report and the self-study team’s meeting with the Dean and Chair/Director are starting points for conversations with the unit’s full faculty to identify activities and resources to address challenges or gaps in current programs, to improve current programs, to take advantage of new opportunities facing the unit, and, in general, to sustain and improve the quality of the academic program based on what was learned through program review.

- The Self-Study team drafts the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), which is circulated among the program faculty and approved. The MOU identifies short-term priorities and longer terms plans that the unit will take to build on what they have learned through program review. It includes a discussion of any additional resources that are considered a priority by the unit to help support these initiatives, as well as plan for assessment (Assessment Planning, Part 2). The approved draft of the MOU is submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by May 20, who distributes it to the unit dean and Provost for feedback.

- Working with the unit Self-Study chair, the dean, and the Provost, the APRC Director/Chair helps negotiate the final MOU and arranges the signing of the MOU to take place before the end of the academic year. Once signed, the MOU is posted on the APRC website.

Phase VI: Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding

- The unit implements its MOU. To track its accomplishments and ensure accountability of the unit, college and university, the unit provides one-year and five-year reports on the progress of the initiatives identified in the MOU. This is shared with the unit faculty, dean, APRC Director/Chair, and AVP for Academic Affairs. The APRC Director/Chair helps negotiate any items of concern expressed by any of the parties.

All documents are described in greater detail in section VI of the APR Guidebook.​​