Academic Program Review: Self-Study (Phase 1)
The self-study phase includes inquiry, data analysis, and self-reflection, which culminate in a self-study document that summarizes key findings and insights. This phase is faculty-led and should involve the entire program faculty, as well as invite input from other stakeholders such as students, alumni, and administrators.
Academic Program and Planning (APP) intends to promote flexibility in the formation of program review teams that can meet the specific needs of the individual department and program.
Review teams typically consist of at least three members, at least two of which are external reviewers (i.e., external to Cal Poly). Review teams for non-accredited programs may include one internal reviewer from a different college.
For non-accredited programs, nominations are submitted to the dean’s office; in this case, it is the dean’s responsibility to determine the final membership of the review team.
The composition of review teams for accredited programs is determined by the accreditor.
Honoraria and Other Costs
The college is responsible for the payment of all expenses associated with the site visit, including reviewer travel and honoraria. External reviewers are typically paid $1,000 (exclusive of approved travel expenses). Although serving as an internal reviewer is considered university service for Cal Poly faculty members, a modest stipend of $500 is recommended for internal reviewers.
Completing the Self-Study
Development of the self-study typically occurs over the course of one academic year with the peer review/site visit occurring the following year. In addition to the standard self-study topics, programs also address the current initiatives within Cal Poly (e.g., diversity and inclusion), the CSU (e.g., Graduation Initiative 2025), and an optional program-selected initiative. More information on these themes can be found in Section VI of the self-study template.
Site Visit Details
Selecting Dates: The site visit generally occurs over two days. Early in the self-study process, the department should coordinate with the Dean’s Office and Academic Programs and Planning to select dates for the site visit. The department will ensure reviewer availability on the selected dates.
Logistics: Coordination of logistics for the site visit, including any travel or lodging arrangements, scheduling meetings, reserving rooms, etc. is the responsibility of the department. One notable exception is the coordination of the required entrance and exit meetings, which are scheduled in collaboration with the office of Academic Programs and Planning. Departments should submit a draft itinerary to the associate dean and the office of Academic Programs and Planning for input prior to sending the finalized itinerary to the review team. A sample on-campus site visit itinerary has been developed to assist with planning. Contact Angela Standifer (firstname.lastname@example.org) for a sample virtual site visit itinerary.
Review Team Communication: Approximately one month prior to the site visit, Academic Programs and Planning will send reviewers an official welcome email, which will include a copy of the self-study and guiding questions for the team.
All documents referenced here can be found on our "Documents and Templates" webpage.