Program Assessments

The main purpose of program assessment, as outlined in Collected Rules and Regulations 20.035, is to improve the teaching and learning, research and creative activity, and service of individual units. In addition, MU’s program assessment serves an important function in the University’s accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association. In fact, MU is one of a select group of institutions pioneering a new model for continued accreditation. As part of the Pathways Demonstration Project, MU has increased attention to improving student learning within program assessment. Program assessment is typically done every five years, with some variation depending on discipline-specific accreditation schedules.

Assessment reports (approximately 15-20 pages) consist of two primary parts (see template below). Part One consists of a review of the academic unit’s current research and creative activity, teaching and learning, service, economic development, and inclusive excellence). This assessment should be based on criteria and methods appropriate to the specific discipline as well as data provided by Institutional Research. Because of requirements related to MU’s accreditation with the HLC, all units that offer degree programs must include learning objectives for each degree program in the teaching and learning component of this report.

Based on the findings in Part One, Part Two describes the unit’s plans for the next three to five years. This section should identify the specific issues, problems, or concerns that this plan seeks to address, as well as identify specific goals and proposed strategies. Due to our accreditation with the HLC, at least one of these goals must focus on improving student learning.

The final assessment report will be read by the provost, the associate provost, the dean of the appropriate school or college, the dean of the Graduate School (if involving any graduate degree programs), and the vice provost for undergraduate studies (if involving any undergraduate degree programs). These individuals will then meet with the chair or director of the academic unit for the program review. To conclude the process, a short executive summary is provided to the University of Missouri System, with copies given to the academic unit.

Because the plans for the next three to five years constitute an essential part of MU’s program assessment, units will provide brief annual updates on their progress and any changes to the goals and strategies taken.

The first draft for programs in the 2022-2023 review cycle is due March 3, 2023.

Please use the template below to organize your assessment report.

Units may include additional sections to the report if they have additional areas they want to address that are not encompassed in the template. Also, please attach a copy of your departmental workload policy and post-tenure review policy as appendices to the report.

Part 1: Review of Current Status of Academic Unit

1.1 Introduction

  • Overall mission of the academic unit
  • Summary of significant changes since the last program assessment
  • Key challenges facing the academic unit
  • Contributions to MU’s Strategic Plan
    • Units should address all relevant aspects of MU’s strategic plan, but we ask for a specific section on contributions to Section IV: Inclusive Excellence

1.2 Assessment of Research and Creative Activity

  • Assessment of quantity and quality of research and/or creative activity, using traditional measures as appropriate to the discipline. These may include publications, quality of publication venues, impact factors, grants, exhibitions or performances and awards
  • Your department’s overall research and creative activity, including how it compares to your peers, is important
  • We expect chairs and directors to utilize the research data (including Academic Analytics data) that will be made available to you

1.3 Assessment of Instruction

  • Assessment of quality of instruction, including, for example, awards, course evaluations, student surveys or exit interviews
  • Summary of contributions to campus-wide initiatives, such as Campus Writing ProgramHonors CollegeFIGS and General Education
  • Summary of recent teaching-related innovations or initiatives
  • Summary of trends regarding instruction, including student credit hours, number of majors and degrees awarded, DFW rates, and faculty use of Early Alert
  • When assessing instruction in graduate programs, make sure to reference the following data: number of students, degrees awarded annually, average time to degree, number of students with assistantships and internal or external fellowships, and career outcomes
  • We expect chairs and directors to utilize the teaching data (including the Delaware data) that will be made available to you

1.4 Assessment of Student Learning

Please include the following sections for each degree program:

  • Brief description of the degree program, including, for example, distinctive features, available tracks or emphasis areas, what students typically do after graduation, recent or planned changes for the program and key student experiences (field work, internships, clinical experiences, etc.)
  • Clearly stated student learning objectives for each degree program and, if appropriate, for each emphasis area
    • In most cases, these student learning objectives can be presented in two lists: one indicating what graduates will know, the other what graduates will be able to do.
  • Summary description of the strategies, both curricular and co-curricular, the program employs to achieve the learning objectives
  • At least one example of how the program assesses the degree to which students in the program are achieving learning objectives, and how this information is subsequently used to inform changes to the curriculum, learning objectives, etc. Programs do not need to provide this for all of their students or all of their learning objectives. What is most important is that a program demonstrates that it gathers data on student learning objectives to inform program improvements. See “Assessment of Student Learning” for further explanation and ideas. Some examples of ways that programs might illustrate this include:
  • Using results from a capstone project to modify curriculum requirements
  • Conducting exit surveys of graduating students and considering changes to learning objectives based on the findings
  • Gathering feedback on the qualifying exam process to try to align the exam more closely to program learning objectives

1.5 Assessment of Service

  • Evidence of the nature and impact of service provided by faculty in the unit. As appropriate, include information about service to the college, campus, community, state, nation and profession.
  • myVita is the best resource for data about faculty service

1.6 Assessment of Economic Development

  • Assessment of unit’s role in economic development, including, for example, workforce and/or job development, support for new and existing businesses, patents and licenses and quality of life in Missouri.

1.7 Assessment of Inclusive Excellence

  • Assessment of the unit’s efforts to foster inclusive excellence, as defined by the university’s strategic plan. Areas to address could include, but are not limited to:
    • Efforts to recruit and retain faculty from underrepresented groups
    • Efforts to recruit and retain students from underrepresented groups
    • Curricular efforts designed to foster inclusive excellence
    • Research initiatives tied to inclusive excellence 
  • Include any relevant data related to inclusive excellence priorities

Part 2: Goals and Strategies

  • Identify specific issues, problems, or concerns that the program would like to address
  • List goals for addressing these areas of potential improvement
    • At least one goal should focus on improving student learning and at least one goal should focus on issues of inclusion, diversity, and equity
  • List strategies for accomplishing these goals in the next three to five years


If you have any questions about the program assessment process, contact Alexandra Socarides. Please submit your assessment report directly to her as well.

Data questions: Mardy Eimers.

Plans for improvement: Julie Brandt

Program review materials and support: Jackie Beary.