About Academic Unit Reviews

All academic departments are expected to engage in a continual process of evaluation and improvement. To assist
departments with this practice, the Department of Planning and Assessment has organized a review process and
established a 7-year cycle through which departments will rotate. You may view the 7-year cycle [here].
 
The review process provides an opportunity for the department to display its strategic plan, alignment with
university aims, organization, procedures and activities. Additionally, it helps departments to qualitatively and
systematically evaluate its performance, efficiency of operations, the effectiveness of its endeavors, and the direction
it is taking.
 
Each unit review begins with an informational meeting for upcoming reviews where department chairs or
directors are invited to receive an overview of the review process. Since each unit is uniquely different, a one-
on-one meeting is then arranged to tailor the review to the needs of each department. At this meeting, each unit
receives all available information to assist them throughout the review, including the most recent review report and
departmental data. At this point, the department is requested to submit two items: 1) Nominations for external
reviewers to participate as part of the review team and 2) Preferred dates for a two-day on-site visit when the review
team will come to the department to conduct interviews with faculty, staff, and students. View the guidelines for
nominating external reviewers [here]. Download the nomination form [here]. Download the on-site visit dates
form [here].
 
Once the nomination and date requests are received the nominees are reviewed and approved by the college dean.
The nominees are contacted as approved by the dean and in preferential order as specified by the department.
Once the nominees accept the invitation to participate in the review and their availability is confirmed on dates
satisfactory to the department, the on-site visit is set.
 
About six months prior to the on-site visit, the department begins to prepare a self-assessment report, called a Self
Study. The Self Study reflects on the outcomes of the most recent review, progress, improvements and challenges
over the past seven years and presents the department’s current goals and direction. The Self Study is based on four
areas: 1) Unit Strategic Plan, 2) Programs and Students, 3) Faculty, and 4) Facilities and Resources. The instructions
for writing the Self Study may be viewed [here]. The Self Study is turned in one month before the on-site visit.
 
After the Self Study is received, it is circulated to each member of the review team. The review team consists of
three internal BYU faculty from varying departments across campus and one or two external reviewers selected as
experts in the same field of study nominated by the department. At this same time, the scheduling for the on-site
visit commences and individuals are contacted and requested to attend for an interview with the review team. A
timeline of events for the review process may be viewed [here].
 
Once the on-site visit is complete, the review team drafts a report that is submitted to the department for a factual
accuracy check. This report is not to be circulated, but only to be checked for accurate facts. The review team
then presents the final report to the Council of the Academic Vice President. After which the Academic Vice
President meets with the department and college administrators for implementation of recommendations. For
more information regarding the review process, please e-mail unitreviews@byu.edu.

[pdf] Unit Review Flowchart