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South Florida State College
Administrative Procedures

Procedure: 3030

Title: Academic Program Review Procedures

Based on Policy: 3.03 - Evaluation of Instructional Programs

Office of Primary Responsibility: Vice President for Educational and Student Services


  1. Purpose: 

To determine that academic programs of the college are effective in achieving student learning outcomes, maintaining integrity, serving community needs, and using college resources efficiently 

  1. Overview:

The Florida Department of Education, State Board of Education Administrative Rules identify that each Florida College System institution shall develop a comprehensive, long-range program plan, including program and service priorities (Rule 6A-14.060).  Academic Program Review (APR) is a component of determining program priorities, viability, community needs and planning for the future.

Program review in the Florida College System is conducted on three levels.  The first level is the annual generation of descriptive data about each program and its students.  Level I program reviews satisfy the five-year cyclical requirement in the Florida statutes and provide the data used for the selection of programs requiring additional review.

Level II program reviews provide further evaluation of designated programs by the college with the assistance of outside agencies.  A major component of the Level II review is a joint meeting between discipline faculties of the college and the neighboring universities in the case of transfer programs.

Level III program reviews are system-wide reviews of selected programs or disciplines by the Division of Florida Colleges and Division of Career and Technical Education.

  1. Procedure:
    1. Level I program review

APR is conducted annually for each degree, diploma, certificate, and adult education program.  The program review process has two major components.  The first component, Educational Program Assessment (EPA), is designed to evaluate the achievement of student learning outcomes in each academic program.  This component of the APR is completed by the program faculty and staff.

The second component of APR is a program profile review that is integrated into EPA and completed annually by the designated academic dean and instructional supervisor of the program.  The program profile focuses upon determining the efficiency and effectiveness of programs in meeting community need and use of college resources.

      1. Educational Program Assessment (EPA)

The EPA is a systematic process of collective inquiry which focuses upon achievement of student learning at the academic program level.  The EPA process is faculty driven and coordinated.  Program faculty identify the mission of the designated program or discipline, student learning outcomes to be achieved, and performance measures used to evaluate student outcomes.  Performance measures are further classified into data sources, acceptable standards of performance, and defined data collection periods.  For a more detailed description of the EPA process, refer to the Educational Program Assessment Handbook.

Strategic Planning Online (SPOL) is an online database that documents all components of the EPA; moreover, SPOL facilitates alignment of the EPA to the college’s operational strategic planning and budgeting.  EPA reports and findings are readily available for review by faculty/staff, program managers, division deans, and administration.  Each academic dean is responsible for monitoring EPA outcomes, performance measures, results, and resulting improvement activities.  The Chief Information Officer ensures program compliance with the EPA process and provides training/support for EPA development.  Additionally, the Academic Quality Committee (AQC) annually reviews EPA findings and makes recommendations as appropriate.

Findings from the annual EPA review are used to improve program performance by identifying areas for classroom improvement or program/discipline modification.  These results may require curricular improvements, changes in pedagogical practice, development of new strategies, or new initiatives requiring additional resources.  The improvement activities may carry over into the annual Unit Action Plan (UAP) or Capital Outlay requests depending upon the scope and type of activities recommended.  Findings are also analyzed by the Strategic Planning Review Committee to determine how educational programs support the institution in achieving its strategic plan.

      1. Program profile

The program profile is an ongoing review process of monitoring and assessing the administrative variables that influence program performance and efficiency.  The academic dean and instructional supervisor are responsible for maintaining the program profile in SPOL as part of the EPA process; data are furnished by the Institutional Effectiveness department, if available.  Findings are shared with faculty within each discipline to help establish a more comprehensive picture of each academic program.

Gainful Employment information is provided in compliance with the U.S. Department of Education’s disclosure requirements for programs eligible for Title IV financial aid that prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation as required in 34 CFR 668.6(b).  The following information is furnished on the college’s website for programs subject to the statutory and regulatory gainful employment requirements: standard occupational code (SOC), program costs, debt at program completion, program completion in normal time, and job placement rate for completers.

The three major components of the program profile include enrollment management, quality indicators, and viability indicators.  Each of these three components attempts to use objective, quantifiable data that can be readily determined.  The academic dean and instructional supervisor will identify enrollment management components, quality indicators, and viability indicators to be assessed and evaluated annually in the program’s EPA.  The vice president for educational and student services will approve these identified components and indicators.  Approved components and indicators shall be included in either the division-wide EPA (i.e., academic dean’s EPA) or program EPA.

Enrollment management components include the number of sections per discipline, number of distance learning courses, independent studies, as well as day and evening offerings monitored by term.  Modifications to future course schedules are made based upon enrollment trends.

Indicators of quality include those components that are more directly controlled by the college and academic departments.  Quality indicators include the following:

    1. Full-time to part-time faculty ratios
    2. Student-to-faculty ratios
    3. Course retention rates
    4. Advisory board recommendations
    5. Employer satisfaction surveys
    6. Success in transfer to State University System (SUS)
    7. Student evaluation of instruction (SEI)
    8. Literacy Completion Points (LCP), Occupational Completion Points (OCP), Educational Functional Levels (EFL)
    9. State or national examination scores (if applicable)
    10. Nationally recognized certification achievement (if applicable)
    11. Program accreditation status (if applicable)
    12. Review of curriculum for currency, coherence, and sequence.

Viability indicators are in large measure outside the control of the college and the academic department.  Viability indicators include the following:

    1. Community need
        1. Workforce projections
        2. Advisory Board recommendation
          1. Student enrollments
            1. Headcount trend for past five years
            2. FTE for past five years
            3. Dual enrollment headcount
          1. Retention rate – fall to fall
          2. Persistence rate – fall to spring
          3. Number of graduates for past five years
          4. Costs per FTE
            1. Recurring and nonrecurring funding
            2. Grants
            3. Special allocations
          1. Job Placement rates
          2. Average annual salary

Standards for quality and viability indicator are established for each program.  These standards should reflect the program expectations for each area.  Based upon the findings of the program profile, a recommendation for initiating a more in-depth Level II review may be instituted.  If the expectations for greater than 70 percent of the indicators are not met, the program will be asked to participate in a Level II review each year until the program is able to meet standard criteria of successfully achieving at least 70 percent of all viability and quality indicators.

    1. Level II program review

The AQC, faculty, and staff of the college will perform a Level II program review at least every three years for each academic program.  A scheduled review date will determine the year in which the program will be reviewed.  Programs may be reviewed more frequently, or out of cycle, if there are significant areas of concern relating to program quality, viability, or during times of financial exigency.

The Level II review systematically examines each college credit, technical, and adult education program to determine if the program shall be continued, modified, or terminated.  The major factors affecting this decision shall include the extent to which a program:

      1. Has sufficient demand
      2. Has sufficient numbers of graduates
      3. Demonstrates performance that is satisfactory to graduates, employers, transfer institutions and discipline faculty
      4. Has adequate enrollments
      5. Is determined to have a reasonable ratio of financial allocations to program costs.

Technical degree, certificate, and adult education programs:

In the occupational degree and certificate programs, and the Adult Basic Education (ABE), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), General Educational Development (GED), and Adult High School (AHS) programs, the measures used in this review shall consist of the extent to which the following are being met:

      1. Enrollment standard for the degree, certificate, or program (number of students enrolled in program)
      2. Graduation or completer standard for the degree, certificate, or program (percent of students completing the program)
      3. Job placement (percent of graduates placed in program-related jobs or the military) and average salary
      4. Employer satisfaction (employer feedback through a survey or program advisory committee)
      5. External agency accreditation is maintained
      6. If applicable, state licensure passing rate (percent of graduates taking the state licensure exam and passing on the first attempt)

College credit:

In the baccalaureate and associate degree programs, the following measures shall be used as criteria for the purpose of the APR:

      1. Student enrollments (number of advanced and professional students)
      2. Transfer student GPAs (percent of graduates enrolled in Florida public universities who earn a GPA of 2.5 or above)
      3. Student performance on the general education competencies (extent to which graduates demonstrate mastery of the general education competencies)
      4. Student retention and success rates (percent of college prep and non-college prep students who are still enrolled in good standing [2.0 GPA or above] or who have graduated after a four-year period)
    1. Review process
      1. Status identification

Reviews for each academic program or discipline shall be conducted on an annual basis.  Consistent with the findings, degrees or programs shall be placed in a satisfactory status, warning status, probation status, or terminated.  Degrees or programs shall be reviewed as follows:

    1. Level I:  Degrees or programs that fail to meet the Level I standards will be placed on warning status for the next academic year unless there is substantive data or information that warrants that the program be placed on probation status or terminated.
    2. Level II:  During the warning and probation year, a Level II review will be conducted.  Based upon the outcomes of that review, a decision will be made to return the program to satisfactory status, to continue the program on warning status and modify the program, to move the program to probation status, or to terminate the program. Programs that fail to meet the measures the third consecutive year may result in program termination.
    3. Every effort shall be made to restore programs on warning or probation status as long as there is demonstrated student and community need.
    4. Programs that have no strong identified community need in the communities or unreasonable cost ratios may be terminated at any time.
      1. Warning or probation

During the period that a degree or program is on warning or probation status, the dean, program chair or manager and program faculty will revise the UAP to reflect the steps that will be taken during the next academic year to bring the program back to satisfactory status.  These actions may include but are not limited to such activities as:

    1. Revising the curriculum
    2. Employing new faculty and/or staff
    3. Conducting special faculty development activities
    4. Moving the program to a new location
    5. Purchasing new equipment
    6. Developing new recruitment materials and conducting additional activities
    7. Revise course scheduling to better meet student needs
    8. Developing the new learning strategies
    9. Working closely with the businesses/industries served to better meet their needs
    10. Adjusting student/teacher ratios
    11. Making changes as recommended by the advisory committee or external accrediting agencies
      1. Program closure

If it is determined that a degree/program is to be terminated, the president shall make the recommendation to the South Florida State College District Board of Trustees.  A substantive change prospectus is submitted to the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) following good practice guidelines for Closing a Program, Site, Branch, or Institution.  Approval from SACSCOC must be obtained prior to implementation.

Upon SACSCOC approval, the program shall be dropped from the College Catalog and no new students shall be allowed to enroll.  Students currently enrolled in the program will be notified in writing and individually advised for program completion or assisted with a change in major.

A timeline for program closure will be developed and distributed to those impacted, including faculty and staff.  The phase-out period may last up to two years so that all needed course work will be offered in sequence one last time.  Student progress in these courses will be monitored closely to verify they are fully aware of the program status and their options toward degree completion.

History: Last Revised: 1/15/13

Adopted: 6/3/1987

Reviewed: 2/28/05

Revised: 6/12/92, 2/6/02, 4/28/09, 7/10/12, 1/15/13