3-5: Academic Program Review – Policy

Policy Overview

This policy establishes the process that Santa Fe Community College (SFCC or College) will follow to systematically review all academic programs and determine the extent to which those programs provide high-quality learning experiences for students, meet the needs of the community, and allocate resources effectively. This policy is in keeping with the requirements of the Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation.

Scope and Applicability

This policy applies all academic programs at SFCC.

Policy Statement

The primary goal of the Academic Program Review (APR) process is to review program­ specific data, program strategic plans, and learning assessment data, in order to make decisions and provide recommendations to ensure continuous quality improvement.

The APR uses a continuous quality improvement process to study and improve academic programs on a regular basis as required by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) through the Criteria for Accreditation. If directed by the appropriate vice president, an out-of-cycle APR may occur.


  1. Continuance means that the academic program is approved to continue its work.
  2. Discontinuance means the cessation of an academic program, center, institute, or department based upon educational, academic, and financial considerations.
  3. Remediation means that the academic program must develop and carry out a remediation plan based on the deficits determined in the review. An academic program under remediation will undergo an additional review in accordance with the remediation plan.

Policy Process

A. Oversight of Academic Program Review Process

The APR committee shall have oversight of the APR process. The process will be conducted for academic programs on a cyclical basis. Academic programs under review will conduct a self-study based on a template provided by the committee.

  1. The Academic Program Review Committee. The APR committee will consist of a faculty representative from each school, as well as representatives from the Faculty Senate, the Curriculum Committee, the Learning Assessment Committee, Institutional Research, and the Chief Financial Officer. The Director for Assessment and Accreditation will chair the APR committee. Membership will be updated
  2. A quorum of the committee shall consist of at least 70 percent of the active members. A member shall be deemed as inactive upon missing three or more consecutive meetings. Inactive members may be replaced upon the discretion of the appropriate vice president(s). Decisions by the quorum shall be determined by a simple majority of the members present.

B. Academic Program Review Self-Study

The APR committee members will provide each program under review with a standardized template of self-study questions and prompts. The self-study will include a report on the results of program-level assessment of student learning. It is the responsibility of the program lead, chair or director, working collaboratively with program faculty, to complete the self-study by the deadline assigned.

C. Academic Program Review Data Set

The Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness (OPIE) shall provide a standardized data set to each program under review. Programs may request additional data as needed. The data set will be related to the self-study questions. The data set will include areas such as faculty and student demographic data, summary degree information, student success information, financial information, and enrollment/withdrawal/cancellation information.

D. Presentation

A formal presentation of the self-study results will be made to the APR committee as part of the process of review. The presentation is the responsibility of the program lead, head, chair or director.

E. Review

Upon completion of the self-study and presentation, the APR committee will review the information and make specific recommendations for quality improvement to the vice presidents responsible for OPIE and for Academic Affairs.

F. Review and Recommendations

  1. The APR committee shall make recommendations on program continuance or recommend remediation or discontinuance to appropriate vice presidents. Recommendations shall require a formal vote of the committee where at least a quorum of its members must be present and voting. Decisions will be based on a simple majority of the members present. The APR committee chair shall provide formal notice (email or other form) of not less than one week, of a meeting wherein a vote is to take place. The committee will strive for consensus in voting.
  2. The appropriate vice presidents will make a joint recommendation to the President. The recommendation from the vice presidents may be different from that of the committee, in which case both recommendations shall be presented to the President for resolution.

a. Program Continuance.
The APR committee may recommend continuance of an academic program based on formal review of the self-study and the presentation provided by the program.

b. Program Remediation/Discontinuance.
The APR Committee may recommend remediation/discontinuance of the program to the appropriate vice presidents. These vice presidents will determine which course of action to follow for the specific program under review.

i. In the case of a decision for remediation by the vice presidents, the program will be required to undergo remedial or corrective action, based on formal review of the self-study and the presentation. The recommendation for remediation will address specific concerns derived from the APR process.
ii. Following a recommendation of remedial or corrective action, a program faculty member identified by the dean will create a remediation plan in consultation with their academic dean.
iii.The period of the remediation plan shall be no longer than two years, at which time an additional full academic program review process shall occur.
iv. If the second APR process leads to a determination that the program still needs significant improvements to meet SFCC standards of quality, the APR committee shall recommend program discontinuance to the vice presidents.
v. In the case of a decision for discontinuance, the recommendation shall be made to the President, who has the final decision. The President’s determination that a program should be discontinued is not subject to challenge (see Policy 4-40 Special Circumstances Employment Actions).
vi. The decision to discontinue a program shall provide for teach-out of current students who have declared the major, budget planning, and the publication of the course-catalog and schedule.

3. Program discontinuance does not preclude the reallocation of resources to other academic programs for academic and/or educational reasons. When applicable, Policy 4-40 Special Circumstances Employment Actions shall guide        the process.

Statement of Accountability/Responsibility

The President, through the Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs, shall be responsible for enforcing academic program review policies and procedures. The Office of Academic and Student Affairs and OPIE shall work with different departments and offices to comply with this policy and develop procedures that will enforce this policy regarding awareness and implementation. The Vice Presidents for Academic and Student Affairs and for Planning and Institutional Effectiveness shall have responsibility for making the final recommendation for continuance, remediation or discontinuance to the President.


Higher Learning Commission: Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components Policy 4-40: SFCC Special Circumstances Employment Actions


SFCC Governing Board approved: 11/10/08

Updated: 6/29/09

Revised and SFCC Governing Board

Approved: 4/27/16

3-5 Academic Program Review – Procedures