The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness coordinates reviews for both academic degree programs and administrative units. These reviews help to ensure that academic programs remain of the highest academic quality and that administrative units provide faculty and students with strong support. Each academic degree program and administrative unit goes through a review once every seven years.
Purpose and Background for FIT’s Review Process
Program reviews provide faculty and the administration an opportunity to review academic degrees, curricular support services, and administrative operations comprehensively, examine goals and the extent to which they are being accomplished, and develop plans for improvement.
Faculty sometimes refer to academic program reviews as “Middle States Reviews,” but this does not accurately describe their purpose. They are performed for internal purposes and are not reviewed by accreditors. The reviews assist FIT in meeting Middle States expectations by enabling FIT to demonstrate that it has developed practices for assessing educational quality and institutional effectiveness. Through program review, FIT can also demonstrate that it continuously improves using thoughtfully gathered evidence. Review documents may serve as supporting documentation for accreditation, but each review is not judged by accreditors.
Each academic degree and administrative unit goes through a program review once every seven years. Academic program reviews have a long history at FIT, and used to be required every five-years (many faculty still refer to them as “five-year reviews”).
The process on both the academic and administrative side includes three components:
- A comprehensive self-study that examines all aspects related to the degree or unit over a broad timeframe that examines past history and looks towards the future.
- An external review: external reviewers with expertise in the area under review read the self-study, visit the program or unit for observation and discussion, and provide feedback and suggestions. The area may revise its action plan based on the external reviewer’s findings.
- Use of results stage: The degree program or unit works with IR&E and its respective vice president to review and discuss the self-study and reviewers’ findings to develop a final action plan that includes a timelines and a budget.
In order to inform the entire FIT community about the assessment, executive summaries and final action plans are posted on MyFit. FIT community members can access executive summaries and final action plans for all Academic Program Reviews and Administrative Reviews conducted at FIT since 2012.
Academic Program Review vs. Annual Assessment of Program Learning Outcomes
In addition to the seven-year academic program reviews, each academic degree engages in the assessment of student learning outcomes annually, submitting an annual report due by November 1st of each year. Programs assess student learning outcomes annually because student learning is the most important thing that happens at FIT. Students move through our programs quickly, and paying close attention to student learning through a systematic and documented process allows programs to quickly adapt when faculty identify areas for improvement.
These annual reports on student learning outcomes assessment are included as one component of program review. In the broad, comprehensive framework of the academic program review, programs are able to view multi-year trends and analyze student learning achievement in the context of a variety of elements affecting the program, such as staffing levels, class size, resources available for learning, and the quality and diversity of admitted students, all examined as part of the review.
Assessment and Program Review Resources
Executive summaries and resulting action plans from each review are available to FIT employees through MyFIT, FIT’s campus intranet. The Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness MyFIT pages are located under Academic Affairs.