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, Liberal Studies, and centers/institutes. The following information encompasses the process of review, including the schedule of units undergoing review, the documents produced, and the steps through which the process is completed.

For more information, please visit the APR Guidebook.

For more information about these documents, please see section V of the APR Guidebook.

  1. The Program Profile provides an opportunity for the unit to summarize the current status of its academic program and highlight opportunities to further examine questions of concern or opportunity, many of which may already be in discussion within the units. It also includes a review and reflection of the program’s learning outcomes and prior assessment projects. The program profile is submitted December 20, Year 1.
  2. The Response to Data guides the unit through an analysis of data provided by the university with the aim of identifying fruitful questions for follow-up. It also provides an opportunity for the unit to revise its learning outcomes and curriculum map, as needed. This document is due at the end of February, Year 1.
  3. The Unit’s Research Plan (URP) outlines the particular areas that the unit will focus upon during the unit’s research, and indicates additional data that will be needed. An assessment of student work for one or more learning objectives should be built in to the URP. The plan will be submitted at the end of April, Year 1.
  4. The Unit’s Research Report (URR) provides analyses and findings that result from the unit’s research itself. 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. The unit’s research report should provide answers to the questions in the research plan based on an analysis of the data and geared towards informing decisions for ongoing program improvement. This document will be submitted no later than December 15, Year 2.
  5. Memorandum of Understanding (MOU): This document, based on the findings of program review, indicates the actions that will be taken by the unit to improve the academic quality of the unit’s programs. Signed by the unit’s Self-Study Chair, Department Chair or Program Director, College Dean, APRC Director/Chair, AVP for Academic Affairs and University Provost, the Memorandum of Understanding acknowledges by all 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.
  6. Progress Report: One year and five years after the signing of the MOU, the unit reports on the steps that have been taken to implement the MOU and the status of those steps have 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) and Cross-College Programs
Cycle 5: Fall 2021–Spring 2023 LAS Interdisciplinary Programs
Cycle 6: Fall 2022–Spring 2024 College of Education (Undergraduate and Graduate), School of Music, and The Theatre School.
Cycle 7: Fall 2023–Spring 2025 Liberal Studies Programs (including Honors)
Cycle 8: Fall 2024–Spring 2026 College of Law, College of Communication, CSH School of Nursing, and CSH Department of Psychology
Cycle 9: Fall 2025–Spring 2027 LAS Master's of Social Work, LAS Social Sciences, and LAS School of Public Service
Cycle 10: Fall 2026–Spring 2027 HLC-NCA Preparation and Review and Revision of APR

Preparation (Spring prior to Year I)

  • The APRC Director/Chair notifies unit chairs of the upcoming program review; unit chairs meet with the APRC research associate and representatives from the Office of Marketing and Institutional Analytics (IRMA) to discuss tailoring the institutional data package to the unit.

Phase I: Preliminary Documents (Year 1)


  • Units identify their self-study team. The APRC Director/Chair orients the unit chair and unit self-study team to the purpose, products and time-line of program review.
  • An APRC Subcommittee is identified for each unit being reviewed and contacts the unit self-study team to review the work ahead and offer their support.
  • The Program Profile is written, reviewed by the APRC subcommittee and submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by December 20.


  • The Unit APR team attends an orientation to program-level university data customized for the unit and organized by the APRC research associate in conjunction with IRMA.


  • Using data received in January, the Response to Data document is written, reviewed by the APRC subcommittee, and submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by the end of February.

Phase II: Planning the Unit’s Research (Year 1)


  • The Unit’s Research Plan is written, reviewed by the APRC subcommittee and submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by April 20. For ease of distribution and feedback, the Unit’s Research Plans are to be in electronic format (MSWord).
  • Units undergoing external review also
    • Provide faculty CVs in electronic format (MSWord or PDF).
    • Provide a list of 4-5 names of external reviewers to the APRC Chair. The list will include all contact information and be annotated to indicate why the unit considers these individuals to be especially well suited to act as external reviewers. The unit may prioritize its requests. The APRC Director/Chair discusses the selection with AVP who acts as a liaison to the Provost for Academic Affairs.
  • The APRC Director/Chair solicits feedback on the research plans from the appropriate dean and Academic Affairs, including requesting the identification of any issues beyond those identified by the APR Guidebook they wish to have explored in the review process. This early feedback is designed to ensure that all parties identify issues or concerns early in the process so that they may be given full consideration during review and so that major new issues are not introduced for the first time late in the process.
  • The APRC Subcommittee reviews the Program Profile, Response to Data, and the Unit’s Research Plan, and represents the unit in discussion of the research plan at APRC meetings. After receiving feedback from the dean and Academic Affairs, the APRC Subcommittee prepares a short written response to the plan. The APRC Director/Chair uses these written responses to prepare a memo to the units which is submitted to the full APRC for approval before being disseminated back to the unit.
  • The Director/Chair of the APRC writes a response from the APRC to the unit self-study team incorporating all feedback into suggested amendments to the proposed research plan. After this document is approved by the APRC, it is sent to the Self-Study Team.

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


  • The Self-Study Team conducts the Unit’s Research according to its plan as approved/amended.
  • Throughout the implementation and writing phase, regular communication between the Self-Study Team and the APRC Subcommittee is strongly encouraged to keep all aware of the direction being taken and of the progress being made. In particular the APRC subcommittees should act as internal consultants and help their unit by identifying 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 AVP for Academic Affairs 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, Response to Data, and faculty CVs.


  • The Unit’s Research Plan is written, reviewed by the APRC subcommittee and submitted to the APRC Director/Chair by December 15 who distributes copies to the APRC, the dean of the unit, and to Academic Affairs. For ease of distribution and feedback, the Unit’s Research Report (including all appendices) is to be submitted in electronic format (MSWord). 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 should be kept confidential, the dean will discuss the portions of the document that should be excised.
  • The AVP for Academic Affairs distributes 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 review will take place in January. The report from the external reviewers should be received by the AVP for Academic Affairs by March 1st, who distributes it to the Provost, the APRC Director/Chair, the unit dean, the unit’s APRC chair, and the unit’s chair/director. The APRC Director/Chair will distribute to the APRC.


  • In early March, the APRC Director/Chair solicits feedback on the unit’s research report and external reviewer’s report from the Provost and the dean of the unit’s college in advance of the APRC’s Spring meeting (see next item).
  • The APRC meets for a review of 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 unit(s) assigned to them and submits the drafts to the Chair of APRC. 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 meeting, the APRC Director/Chair writes a response to the unit research report providing feedback regarding the research 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. Once approved by the APRC, the response is shared with the unit self-study chair and the unit chair/director, the dean, and the Provost. The unit’s Self-Study Team is to provide copies of this response to the unit’s full-time faculty.

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


  • The APRC response to the unit’s research report is to be the starting point for conversations within the full faculty of the unit aimed at identifying strategies to remedy weaknesses 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 unit 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 (Asessment Planning, Part 2). The approved draft of the MOU should be received by the APRC Director/Chair by May 20, who distributes it to the unit dean and AVP for Academic Affairs for feedback.
  • Working with the unit self-study chair, the dean, and the AVP for Academic Affairs, 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 carries forward plans identified in its MOU. To celebrate accomplishments and to ensure accountability of the unit, college and university, the unit provides a one-year and five-year report on the progress of the initiatives identified in their 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.​