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. 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 and methods of assessing such 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 review cycle. 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. 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 for academic programs, 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 review cycle 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 2023-2024 review cycle is due March 1, 2024.

Please use the template below to organize your assessment report.

Units may include additional sections to the report if they have other 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 currently facing the academic unit
  • Contributions to relevant aspects of MU’s Strategic Plan

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, etc.
  • Your department’s overall research and creative activity, including how it compares to your peers
  • We expect chairs and directors to utilize the research data (including Academic Analytics data) that is available to you

1.3 Assessment of Instruction

  • Assessment of quality of instruction, using, for example, student feedback on teaching data, teaching and pedagogy awards, student surveys, and exit interviews
  • Summary of trends regarding instruction, including student credit hours, number of majors, degrees awarded, retention rates, DFW rates, and faculty use of Early Alert
    • When assessing instruction in graduate programs, please 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
  • Description of involvement in campus-wide teaching and high-impact student engagement activities, such as Honors, FIGS, undergraduate research, study abroad, service learning, WI courses, etc.
  • Description of recent teaching-related innovations or initiatives, including faculty use of resources such as The Teaching for Learning Center, the libraries, the Campus Writing Program, the Career Center, and other units that support instruction
  • Please reflect on your unit’s teaching efficiency, which is reflected in the Delaware Data

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 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 will be presented in two lists: one indicating “what graduates will know” and the other “what graduates will be able to do”
  • Description of the strategies, both curricular and co-curricular, the program employs to achieve the learning objectives
  • Description of the kinds of data that the program gathers on how students are meeting the student 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. 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

  • Description 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, curricular effort designed to foster inclusive excellence, research and initiatives tied to inclusive excellence, etc.

Part 2: Goals and Strategies

  • Identify any specific issues, problems, or concerns that the program would like to address
  • List 3-5 goals for addressing these areas for potential improvement
  • List a few strategies for accomplishing each of these goals in the next review cycle

Data Links:

  1. MU Key Metrics
  2. Academic Analytics Portal
  3. Faculty Scholars

Additional Sources of Data: Campus Data Hub


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.

Program review materials and support: Jackie Beary.