Guidelines for Preparing School Self-Studies

     The purpose of the self-study is to encourage the School to engage in a critical self-evaluation and to provide the Provost and the external visiting committee with the information that they will need to conduct their own assessments of the School. The narrative section should generally be limited to 25-30 pages, with additional detailed information included in appendices where appropriate. The self-study should be organized as follows:

I. Background

1. Briefly describe the history of the School, its organization, academic/professional responsibilities, and relationship to other academic units of the University.

2. Discuss the major intellectual directions that the disciplines covered by the School are likely to take in the coming decade and the major challenges -- academic, professional and societal -- that the School will face.


II. School Profile

1. List the fields in which the School specializes and the number of faculty involved in each.

2. Describe the educational programs of the School, including admission standards, degree requirements and financial aid policies. Also discuss the staffing of those programs, indicating the extent to which the School relies upon tenured, nontenured, adjunct and student instructors.

3. Discuss the changing composition of the School's students, based on the trends over the past five years in each program offered by the School with regard to:

a. Characteristics of the applicant pool, including the number of applicants, admits acceptances; and overlap data with major competitors; (joint applications and admissions, and acceptances by joint admits)

b. Size of the student body;

c. Average time required to complete the program and attrition rates; and

d. Degrees awarded and placement record for graduates.

4. Discuss the contributions of the School to programs in other parts of the University, including cross-enrollments and joint degree and research programs.

5. Describe the financial resources of the School, including its endowments and funding from external sources. Indicate any additional sources of external funding that have not been utilized and the steps being taken to exploit them.

6. Describe the administrative structure of the School, providing information on the number of administrative personnel by major function. If any of the administrative services overlap with those provided by central administrative units, indicate the rationale for the duplication.

7. Describe the School's academic planning process and indicate the extent to which faculty are involved.


III. Program Assessment

1. Discuss the results of any surveys, national rankings, accreditation reports, or other comparative assessments in which the School or any of its programs have been included.

2. List the top five universities with programs in each of the major fields covered by the School and compare their programs with ours. If the School is not among those five, explain why.

3. Assess the effectiveness of the School's research and teaching programs and how it has changed over the past five years.

a. Describe the School's academic strengths, using comparative data, if available.

b. Discuss its weaknesses, indicating whether they can be remedied through an internal reallocation of resources as opposed to requiring additional resources.

c. Evaluate the strength of the School's faculty in terms of their research and teaching performance, indicating the basis for that evaluation.

4. Assess the School's links to other parts of the University, both in terms of their importance to its programs and the contributions it makes to the rest of the University. Also discuss the School's interaction, if any, with other academic institutions and industry and whether there are further opportunities that could strengthen its programs.

5. Asses the quality of life of the School's students and how it compares with that at the School's major competitors. Describe the evidence on which this assessment is based.

6. Evaluate the effectiveness of the School's administration and support services, and the improvements that would have the most significant impact on its academic programs.

7. Evaluate the quality of the School's facilities and how they influence the quality of its academic programs.


IV. Future Plans and Objectives

1. Describe the objectives of the School for the next decade.

2. Discuss whether the School is well-positioned to take advantage of the emerging intellectual trends in the fields it covers and meet the challenges they pose. Indicate how the School's plans will permit it to play a significant role in defining the future direction of its fields.

3. Discuss how the School plans to build upon its strengths and remedy its weaknesses.

4. Describe the resources the School will need to realize its objectives, including faculty and staff, funding and facilities. If the School's plans call for further growth, discuss how it will be financed. Discuss how the shape of its programs would change if there are no additions to its current resources and if they need to be cut.

5. Describe any plans to contract or eliminate any of the School's programs and academic units, including its centers and institutes and discuss their rationale.

6. Discuss how the School's budgetary planning for the next five years would change if the University adopts a budget system that allocates full revenues and full costs to schools.

7. Discuss how the School's plans fit with the University's strategic plans and academic priorities.


V. Other

1. Discuss any other issues of importance to the School that are not identified above. Add any further comments that you believe might help in developing a strategic plan for the School.

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