Frequently Asked Questions

Can I see an example of a good Plan written under the Interim Guidelines?

When model Plans written under the Interim Guidelines become available, they will be posted on the Program Planning Website.

Willthis process actually be used, or is it just another exercise to satisfy a system requirement?

The Provost very much intends to make the Action Memorandum a part of both short and long term resource allocation procedures within the Academic Affairs division. Requests for faculty hires, for new curricula, and/or for special resource consideration, that have not been documented in Program Planning, are much less likely to be honored.

How does the department submit the Program Plan?

Beginning spring 2011 all Program Planning documents are submitted digitally. Please make all appendices as separate files with appropriate names (e.g. Appen A - RDE, Appen X - GE certification) and submit as a zip file.

The Dean of the college must signify that the Program Plan is ready to be viewed off-campus. The Chair of the department submits the Plan to the Dean, first. Please notify the office of Undergraduate Studies when the Plan is submitted to the Dean.

When the Dean approves the Plan to go forward he/she will sign the title page and forward the Plan to UGS.

Why is it called Program Planning?

The essential word is "planning," for literally every component of the process. The Plan, culminating in an Action Memorandum from the Provost, must give a clear picture of where the program stands and what it realistically expects to accomplish over the next five years - curricular and pedagogical revisions - based on assessment of student learning, faculty hiring, space alterations, change in student mix, enhanced off-campus delivery, changing use of technology, more community ties, develop or use more effectively an advisory board, more alumni contact, etc.

What does "Evaluation of Program Effectiveness" mean?

Effectiveness means are students learning what program faculty have established as program learning objectives. Senate policy ( S94-2 amended by S96-10) requires an element related to evidence of program effectiveness. Because such measures are an increasingly important part of University accreditation (WASC), it is necessary to show how departments are collecting -- and using for the purposes of program improvement -- evidence of their effectiveness. The Plan should summarize evidence and activities reported in assessment annual reports over the previous five years and outline a plan for future activities related to improving student learning.

What is the calendar for completing the process?

The following is intended to be a general overview. Be sure to see the Program Planning Interim Guidelines for more information.

Departments with no accredited programs.

Fall semester:

  • Appoint the Coordinator to organize and write the Plan. Notify the Office of Institutional Research that you are ready to receive Required Data Elements.
  • Office of Institutional Research provides required data elements
  • Department faculty meet to plan the future of the department
  • Department Chairs and Coordinators attend Program Planning orientation meeting
  • Initiate process to identify suitable external reviewers
  • For programs with more than 120 units: Try to cut the program to 120 units during the planning process. If you plan to continue requiring more than 120 units, submit justification for unit requirements to the Senate Undergraduate Studies Committee
  • Submit program Plan to College Dean for approval to be sent off-campus. Approximately simultaneously submit vitae of three candidates who are available and willing to become the external reviewer for your department. (A few departments may need more than one reviewer for diverse programs.)

Spring semester:

  • Chair plans external reviewer visit
  • External reviewer visits
  • External reviewer submits review to UGS
  • Department response to reviewer (at a minimum thanking reviewer for visit)

Fall semester of following AY:

The following may begin earlier than fall, if the external reviewer's report is received early enough.

  • College Committee report, optional, to be decided by the college committee
  • The Dean's report
  • Program Planning Committee report to the Provost
  • Meeting with Provost
  • Action Memorandum

What is the format required?

The Program Planning Interim Guidelines give more detailed instructions on format and sections required for the Plan.

Where do we get recent data?

The Office of Institutional Research (OIR) will provide one snapshot of Required Data Elements (RDE) in pdf format. If the snapshot is not used by the department in a timely manner the department will be required to prepare a snapshot of Required Data Elements upon which the Plan is based.At any point in time, the OIR website has the most recent five years of required data. Should the department wish additional data, the Office of Institutional Research may be able either to provide requested data or to aid the department in finding sources.

If there is more than one program ina department, how many Plans are needed?

Only one. Resources are typically shared across programs within a department, so that, for instance, most faculty teach in multiple programs. For that reason, departments with multiple programs should integrate planning discussions across programs.

Who is responsible for leading planning and writing the Program Plan?

The Chair, who may delegate this in whole or part, but who nonetheless remains responsible.

What about accredited programs, do they stillneed a Program Plan?

Yes. the Chair or Program Plan Coordinator prepares a table of contents that follows the Interim Guidelines but which refers to pages in the accreditation self-study, where appropriate. Only sections required in the program plan that are not addressed in the self-study need to be written specifically for the University Program Plan.

What is the role of the liaisonfrom the Program PlanningCommittee?

Members of the Program Planning Committee play a logistical support role. They will help departments negotiate changes to procedures as necessary, and in general will report to the Committee whether things are progressing smoothly. The liaison should not be regarded as a working member of the department planning process, but as an informational link to the Committee and as support.

It can be difficult to see what is unclear to a reader outside of your discipline. The liaison may give the department an outsider's view of drafts of the Program Plan, if the department desires. The liaison does not take responsibiity for the plan.

How doesProgram Planning relate toCurricular Priorities?

The Program Planning Committee is being asked by the Curriculum & Research Committee to oversee the long-term commitments made during Priorities, and to see to it that during the Planning processes appropriate degree condensations, evaluations, etc., are carried out.

This page last updated 9-14-2011