Implementing the Self-Study

Program Overview
Leadership, Administrative Support, Facilities and Equipment, Institutional Relationships
The Future

Please note that these instructions are intended to be a helpful guide in preparing the program self-study. There is scope for interpretation and program-level flexibility, particularly if certain data elements or thematic areas do not apply to a given program. Please see the self-study outline for required key elements and use the following sections and questions as a guide for developing your program narrative. Additionally, those data and themes that are routinely monitored and assessed within the program should be relied on whenever possible to ease new data collection and reflect continuous assessment best practices.

Combined graduate and undergraduate program reviews

Program review at UNC-Chapel Hill includes all levels of program — undergraduate only, graduate only, and graduate-undergraduate combined, where appropriate. A combined review of both graduate and undergraduate programs of a school, department, or curriculum offers the opportunity to evaluate each degree level within the context of its own needs, goals, and objectives, as well as within the context of the unit's overall mission and strengths. When preparing the self-study in such a case, it is important to provide assessment and commentary on each degree level separately, wherever possible. This is done in order to conduct a meaningful evaluation of the teaching, research and training activities of each degree level on its own merits. Afterward, an assessment of the programs together should focus on the dynamic relationship between the undergraduate and graduate degree levels. The combined review should also address the program’s effectiveness in representing the discipline on campus.

Program Overview

The program overview presents a comprehensive assessment of the program's degree offerings, within the parameters of its stated mission, goals, and objectives, and its position within the history of the discipline (past, present, projected), as well as within the family of its peer institutions and research centers. This is an opportunity for the program to reassess itself, restating or modifying its mission and the consequent goals and objectives. This statement serves as the framework for the evaluation process. Specifically, the reviewers will be charged to assess whether the stated mission is realistic and feasible, and whether it meets the needs of the profession for both scholarship and research.

The following suggestions may help in developing this section:

Mission, Goals, and Objectives


Interdisciplinary Activities

Interinstitutional Perspective

Previous Evaluations


The section on curriculum is to describe the design and requirements of all degree programs, and to correlate these with the educational goals and learning outcomes they are intended to achieve for the students content knowledge, thinking and expression skills, and professional skills. If programs sponsor certificate programs, either for matriculated or off-campus/professional students, they should be discussed as a separate program in the report.

Learning outcomes and assessment reports for both undergraduate and graduate curricula are important to include and assess. Programs must submit their last three years of learning outcomes assessment reports as part of the self-study; please contact the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment for prior year reports if necessary.

Specifically, the reviewers will be charged to assess the curriculum in terms of the stated mission of the program and their understanding of the needs of the profession. They will look at the breadth and depth of content, integration, opportunities for practice and research, and preparation for professional life in the 21st century. Among other things, they will look for balance between coursework and research for each concentration area, as well as balance between required and elective courses; the progression of courses, seminars, research opportunities, and integrative projects; the length and size of the program relative to its stated goals; the balance between graduate and undergraduate programs; and the timeliness of course offerings. Figure 1, “Curricular MatrixMicrosoft Word icon,” may help in developing this section.

For programs offering courses for General College students: Explain the program's role in the university's undergraduate general education program for non-majors. How do undergraduate courses that enroll general education students differ from those aimed predominately at majors or minors? How are faculty made aware of these differences? How does the program ensure that is offers general education courses in sufficient numbers to satisfy demand and to attract majors?


This section is to frame the discussion by the faculty and the program's administration of the faculty's strengths and areas of concern in research, teaching, mentoring/advising, service, and participating in professional, program/department, and university committees and activities. This would be accomplished by:

The Program Review Team will be asked to look at faculty size, quality and distribution by field of expertise, in relation to your program's stated mission, and to identify priority areas of scholarship and research. We will ask them to look at how the faculty portrait relates to the university's commitment to maintain a diverse population (e.g., women, underrepresented populations). They will consider both student and faculty evaluations of teaching, as well as whether there are sufficient opportunities for faculty to improve their teaching skills. They will look at research strength as compared to that of faculties at peer institutions, and will assess whether faculty research is effectively integrated into their teaching.

We will ask them to review and evaluate mentoring policies and practices within the unit, including special emphasis on mentoring junior faculty as they prepare for tenure and promotion as well as graduate students (if applicable). They review the service and engagement of the faculty research and activities with the campus, state, nation, and international communities. We will ask them whether faculty compensation and rewards are appropriate in comparison to peer institutions. Finally, they will take into account the morale of the faculty and collegiality within the program.

It may be useful to organize the information into sections addressing overall assessment, research activities, and teaching responsibilities:

Overall Assessment of the Faculty

The overall assessment would include descriptive statements, supported by both aggregate data and individual data:

Faculty Research

State the research goals of the faculty in each program area, including standards of quality and quantity. What are the rewards and results of meeting or exceeding these goals? How do these goals compare to those of similar programs at peer institutions?


Describe and discuss the program’s policies on teaching, (supplementing with data, as shown in Figure 2, “Teaching ActivitiesMicrosoft Word icon,” and Figure 3, “Teaching Activities/Faculty MemberMicrosoft Word icon”):

For each faculty member individually, indicate:


This section is to summarize data about and by the students in the program, for the most part separating the presentation for graduate and undergraduate students. The Program Review Team will be asked to assess the standards of the program's student scholarship and research, as well as the placements of graduates, as compared to peer institutions. They will consider the adequacy of student funding, the quality of advising and mentoring of students, student morale, student learning outcomes assessment results, average time to degree trends, career preparation activities and the distribution of students in relation to the university’s commitment to maintain diversity (e.g., women, underrepresented populations). They will talk with students and they will assess whether students feel that they can participate effectively to improve or revise the program.

To assist in preparing this section, there are several types of data the program can obtain, described in detail later in this manual. The program being reviewed should comment on the trends revealed by those data. Information can be obtained for the past five years and includes various configurations of data on enrollment; graduate applications and acceptances; credit hours generated; and degrees conferred.

You may want to present quantitative data in the format of Figure 4, “Demographic Profile of Graduate StudentsMicrosoft Word icon” and Figure 5, “Demographic Profile of Undergraduate MajorsMicrosoft Word icon”. Please note significant trends. In addition, the following descriptive information would be included:

In preparing this section, please obtain student input and evaluations of all phases of the program; this is accomplished through the use of program-generated assessment tools and student surveys and focus groups. Comment on the results of any such assessments.

Include a discussion of the impact of teaching by graduate student teaching assistants (GTAs) on the effectiveness of the undergraduate curriculum. Summaries and representative samples of student comments are encouraged. Comment on the legitimacy of student criticisms.

Leadership, Administrative Support, Facilities and Equipment, Institutional Relationships

The goal of this section is to assess the effectiveness of the program's governance and administration, and the adequacy, currency, and distribution of space, equipment, and support services, especially as related to achieving the program’s stated mission.


Describe the program’s internal organization for governance and administration. Include an organization chart, if available.

Administrative Support

Comment on the adequacy of staff support, or support of others that may be appropriate, indicating the financial base of this support and clearly delineating state versus nonstate support levels. This should include technical, clerical, secretarial, and administrative support.

Facilities and Equipment

Comment on the status and adequacy of physical facilities, including:

Institutional Relationships

Delineate relationships with other academic and research units, both on our campus and with other universities and outside units.

The Future

The program is asked to engage in an intellectual five-to ten-year planning process, taking into account the self-study data generated. This section should also share with the review team the vision that the program faculty and administration hold for the discipline. Where is the program going? Stimulate faculty dialogue and report both majority and minority views.

Discuss how the program integrates an ongoing assessment of its progress toward its stated goals into planning for the future. How does the program recognize its strengths and concerns, and how is this recognition translated into planning? Where applicable, delineate between undergraduate and graduate aspects of program planning.

The Program Review Team will be asked whether the program's plans for the future, and its new initiatives, are realistic, and reflect the needs of the discipline. They will be asked to provide insights as to significant new developments in education and/or research that they see as likely to occur in the next five to ten years, and to assess whether the program is positioned to capitalize on these developments. They will be asked for recommendations for program growth, retraction, and other changes.

In preparing this section, the program may wish to address the following questions (among others):

Next: Suggestions for the Self-Study Outline