The advice on this page is directed to chairs of program review committees, though others involved in the program review process may find it helpful. The dean or other university official charging the program review committee generally selects the chair of the review committee. The review committee chair should be identified in the memo that charges the review committee. The review committee chair and members should review the charge memo carefully and follow instructions provided in the charge memo. This advice is provided to supplement instructions provided in the charge memo.
Preliminary planning and communication with the review committee
As the chair of the program review committee, you decide on a general plan for the review. In the interest of using review committee time efficiently, you should schedule only as many meetings as are required to validate the information provided in the self-study. This can typically be accomplished in two 2-hour meetings for the review committee. You, along with members of the committee, may choose to include meetings with program faculty and staff, meetings with students, a tour the program facilities, and/or meetings with other program constituencies. Such activities are not always included and they can be added at the discretion of the committee.
You can and should start making arrangements for review committee meetings as soon as you receive the charge memo. It may be necessary for the meetings to be scheduled several weeks
into the future to accommodate everyone’s schedule. That gives sufficient time for members to
review the materials. The schedule you set for meetings should also take into account the date the review is due.
At least two weeks before the first meeting, remind committee members to review the documents and prompt them to send requests for any additional information well in advance of the meeting. This action sets the expectation that committee members should be prepared to make the meeting time productive.
Prepare in advance. Review all the materials alongside the charge. Consider if you have any questions that need additional information.
Consider inviting a program representative to join you for 30-45 minutes.
Agenda for the first review committee meeting
The agenda for the review committee meeting can take many formats. It is always useful to start with introductions. Often members of the review committees don’t know each other. Because UW‐Madison is such a large university, we can structure meaningful review committees without external reviewers.
An agenda format that seems to work well:
Academic Program Elements
You may find it useful to refer to this list to ensure the review committee has discussed all elements of an academic program.
Preparing the review committee report
As the program review committee chair, you will draft a brief report (2-10 pages) based on notes taken at the review committee meeting. Any topic that is noteworthy (whether to be celebrated or remediated) should be included in the report. Failure to mention topic below (positive or negative) will be interpreted as the committee’s endorsement of an acceptable status quo. Circulate a draft report for review by committee members and provide a deadline for responding. It may take a couple of iterations of review to satisfy all members of the review committee. If the report becomes more complicated to complete and consensus is difficult to achieve via email, then an additional review committee meeting may be required.
After all of the committee members are satisfied with the report, it should be submitted to the dean or other university official (copy to all the committee members), as requested in the charge to the committee.
Usually, the work of the committee is completed when the report is submitted. If the committee placed conditions or restrictions on the program, then the committee may have an on‐going evaluative role. Details will be determined on a case by case basis.