Marywood University Policy & Procedure Information


Self-Study of Academic Departments and Professional Departments Policy

Policy Statement

The systematic and recurring review of academic and professional departments at Marywood University is an essential element of their ongoing efforts to improve the student experience. Marywood accomplishes this objective through critical reflection, self-assessment, and strategic planning consistent with their Mission Statement and Core Values.  This review can be met through discipline specific accreditation or this review process.

The review process engages input from various constituencies on campus to obtain a fair and balanced appraisal of a department’s strengths and areas for improvement. Information gathered as part of this review process will help to enhance Marywood’s understanding of the needs of a department, ensure a quality educational experience for students, and allow for the use of evidence-based guidance for administrative decision-making.

In addition, this review process is used to help Marywood University meet the standards of accreditation set forth by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).


Units under review will meet approximately sixteen (16) months prior to the deadline of their review process.

The following Appendices are an integral part to this Policy:









I.  Overview and Purpose

The Outcomes Assessment Committee (OAC) will oversee the Academic Department Review (ADR) and Professional Department Review (PDR) process. Each department will be reviewed every seven years (link to Appendix C: Programs for Review).

Departments reviewed by a professional or accreditation body will not be reviewed by the OAC (link to Appendix D: List of Accredited Programs). If there are programs within a department that are not accredited, they will be reviewed by the OAC.

The purposes of ADR and PDR are:

  1. Thoughtful self-assessment and planning objectives for future direction.
  1. Evaluation of the department’s current (since the last review) status and overall quality including staff, resources, effectiveness, and identification of future opportunities for growth and improvement.
  1. Goals and recommendations for actions to maximize effectiveness of the department.

These objectives will allow the department to set strategic goals and direction until the next review process, to share these goals, actions, and timelines with others, and help direct resources toward achievement of these goals.

II.   Process

A.   Orientation to Review 

Members of the department undergoing review will meet with the Assistant Provost and Assessment Coordinator to discuss the scope and process. This will occur approximately sixteen (16) months prior to the conclusion of the review, typically in either September or January of the year prior. At this meeting, the unit will receive the self-study guidelines and develop a specific timeline. All reviews will include standard areas that will be assessed; in addition, unique items may be identified in the initial planning meeting.

 B.  Self-Study Preparation and Department Responsibilities

The department will prepare a self-study document (link to Appendix E:Self-study document) to serve as the foundation for review and to outline the department’s recommendations, strategic direction, goals, and plan for implementation. The preparation of the self-study is intended to assist the department’s faculty/staff to establish priorities, celebrate successes, and identify future directions and strategies to achieve future goals.

Departments are expected to gather the necessary input from their constituencies, as well as request necessary quantitative data from the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.  The narrative of the self-study report should not exceed twenty (20) pages; a self-study appendix should include reliable and valid data and descriptive materials, on which the analysis and self-study are based. The report will be submitted to the department’s immediate supervisor for review and comment prior to the final version. The Assessment Coordinator will also review and provide comment.  The department will provide a copy of the final report to the members of the review committee and the Assistant Provost as stipulated in Appendix A. 

C.  Review Committee

The OAC will designate a committee comprised of three members of the OAC to oversee a department’s review.  Review committees for the ADR will consist of two academic and one non-academic member; for the PDR, the review committee will consist of two non-academic and one academic member. None of the members of the review committee can be part of the program or department undergoing review. Only members of the OAC can serve on a review committee.

The role of a review committee is to validate and clarify the self-study report. A written report, fewer than ten (10) pages, from the review committee will be submitted to the Vice President or Provost, along with the self-study and appendices. The review committee can request additional data or conduct interviews of members of the department in order to complete the report. Once the report is submitted to the Vice President and/or Provost, the review committee’s work is completed.

D.  Post Review

The reports generated by the review process will inform the post-review meetings, and be used to develop consensus on next steps. Departments will meet with their immediate supervisor, and the Vice President and/or Provost to discuss the recommendations. The formal conclusion of the review process is to assemble the department leadership, supervisor, Vice President and/or Provost, and the University President to finalize recommendations. 

The unit leadership will be responsible for informing the Vice President and/or Provost on progress toward the goals identified within the allotted period by completing a brief annual report generated by an electronic assessment tracking system (currently Task Stream).


Related Policies

Related Committees


10/31/19 – The proposal to revise and change the name of the Self-Study of Programs and Student Services Policy to the Self-Study of Academic Departments and Professional Departments Policy with corresponding Appendices A through E were approved by the President of the University as recommended by the Policy Committee of the University at its October 24, 2019 meeting.