Academic Program Review

Academic Program Review

The University of Alabama is committed to fostering academic excellence and ensuring the highest standards in its educational offerings. The Academic Program Review (APR) is a structured, periodic evaluation process designed to assess and enhance the quality, effectiveness and strategic direction of each academic unit within the University.

Purpose of Academic Reviews

Comprehensive Assessment | Academic program reviews offer a vital opportunity for academic units to engage in an introspective analysis of their strengths, weaknesses and strategic goals, ensuring continuous improvement and excellence in their academic endeavors.

Regulatory Compliance | Conducting regular program reviews is key to satisfying the requirements of the University of Alabama System (UAS), aligning with Board Rule 504 and maintaining high educational standards.

Scope of Reviews

A Complete Approach | The review process encompasses all academic departments across diverse colleges and schools, including Arts and Sciences, Capstone College of Nursing and others, fostering a holistic evaluation of the University’s diverse academic landscape.

Review Cycle

Scheduled Evaluations | To maintain continuous improvement, each department is typically subject to a comprehensive review every eight years, aligning with institutional cycles and strategic planning.

Duration of Review

Annual Process | Spanning a full year, the review process allows ample time for thorough self-study, reflection and analysis, with flexibility to complete most activities in either the fall or spring semester.

The Review Process

  1. Self-Study Component

    Foundation of Review | This phase is vital for departments to evaluate their achievements and future aspirations, ensuring alignment with the University’s strategic goals.

    Strategic Impact | The self-study serves as a crucial step in initiating meaningful changes, identifying key areas for improvement and potential growth.

  2. APRT Review Phase

    Engagement and Interaction This phase includes a two-day visit by the Academic Program Review Team (APRT), which can be conducted on-site or virtually. It is designed for interactive engagement and in-depth evaluation of the department.

    Typically, the APRT’s visit is scheduled for either March or October.

  3. Development of Strategic Action Plan

    After rectifying any discrepancies in the APRT report, academic units and programs commence crafting their strategic action plans. This crucial stage, usually spanning 1 to 1.5 months, involves collaboration with the dean’s office. It focuses on creating a plan that is reflective of the APRT’s findings and in line with institutional objectives.

  4. Final Meeting with the Provost

    Typically set for two to three weeks post-submission of the strategic action plan, this meeting is a pivotal moment in the APR process. The dean, department chair, or program director will formally present the plan to the provost. This presentation is a key opportunity to showcase how the proposed strategies and actions not only respond to the APRT’s insights but also advance the University’s broader mission and goals.

Data Utilization

Data Driven Insights | Departments leverage data from the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA), providing a solid foundation for drafting insightful self-study reports.

Integration with Annual Reviews

Ongoing Strategic Alignment | The strategic action plans developed during the APR feed directly into the departments’ annual review processes, ensuring that insights gained are effectively integrated into everyday practices and long-term planning.

Council & Team Composition

APR Council

Diverse Representation: Comprising 38 faculty members from various colleges, ensuring diverse perspectives and expertise in the review process.

Term and Renewal: Members serve a standard 3-year term with an option for renewal, promoting continuity and fresh insights.

Broader Involvement: Council membership includes essential ex officio members, broadening the scope of the review process.

APR Team

Specialized Review Panels: Teams of 2-4 Council members, augmented by an external reviewer, conduct the reviews, bringing specialized knowledge and an external perspective.

Tailored Expertise: The selection of team members is based on expertise, with the Associate Provost for Academic Affairs ensuring a match between the department’s focus and the reviewers’ background.

Flexibility and Approval: Departments have the option to request exemption from having an external reviewer, subject to dean’s approval and under certain conditions.


Through its APR process, The University of Alabama underscores its commitment to academic excellence, continuous improvement and strategic alignment with broader educational goals. The APR serves as a cornerstone for ensuring that each academic program not only meets but exceeds the expectations of its students, faculty and stakeholders in the dynamic landscape of higher education.