Policy and Research
Quality Assurance through Academic Program Review and Accreditation
Academic Program Review
Academic program review has a lengthy history in the State University System of Florida, as efforts have been made to periodically analyze how degree programs provide students with high quality education and preparation for success in our global economy. Well aligned with regional and discipline-specific accreditation expectations, program review processes in the State University System must emphasize the assessment of student learning outcomes and continuous program improvement.
Board of Governors' Regulation 8.015 requires the cyclic review of all academic degree programs in State universities at least every seven years. Program reviews must document how individual academic programs are achieving stated student learning and program objectives within the context of the university's mission, as illustrated in the academic learning compacts. The results of the program reviews are expected to inform strategic planning, program development, and budgeting decisions at the university level and, when appropriate, at the state level.
The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)is a private nonprofit national organization that coordinates accreditation activities in the United States; it explains accreditation as follows:
Accreditation in higher education is a collegial process of self-review and peer review for improvement of academic quality and public accountability of institutions and programs. This quality review process occurs on a periodic basis, usually every three to ten years. Typically, it involves three major activities:
- A self-evaluation by an institution or program using the standards or criteria of an accrediting organization;
- A peer review of an institution or program to gather evidence of quality; and
- A decision or judgment by an accrediting organization to accredit, accredit with conditions, or not accredit an institution/program.
More information about the different types of accreditation (regional, national, and specialized for programs) can be found on the CHEA Website .
Board of Governors' Regulation 3.006 requires that each institution in the State University System be accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). SACSCOC is the regional accrediting body for the Southeastern United States.
In addition, each degree program for which specialized accreditation exists must seek such accreditation or provide a rationale for not seeking it. The accreditation status of individual academic programs in the State University System is provided in an annual report located with the Academic Degree Program Inventory.