HLC Self Study
Chapter 7 Graphic

Program Review

At Estrella Mountain, regular Program Reviews include attention to the currency and relevance of courses and programs. Historically, the Program Review process has been used to assess the degree to which an individual program achieves stated goals and objectives. Prior to 2009, Program Reviews were conducted primarily by occupational programs, while academic Program Reviews were somewhat limited. Elements for original Program Reviews included individual program goals and outcomes linked directly to the College’s mission and goals. The process integrated selected college core indicators of effectiveness and academic achievement measures at the individual program-specific level while providing a mechanism to evaluate a program’s relevancy to current industry needs.

During spring 2007, Estrella Mountain conducted a simulated Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation visit by contracting with consultant evaluator Dr. Henry Rhinne. The final report commended assessment efforts made at the course level and recognized ongoing occupational program level assessment. The report also indicated that too few programs, including both academic and occupational, conducted meaningful assessments of student learning, analyzed results, made improvements, and fully documented the process. Resulting recommendations to strengthen the College’s Program Review process included the need to develop a plan that would enhance academic program level assessment by focusing on general education.

Based on the consultant’s recommendations, the College began assessing the existing Program Review process in 2008. Results of the review determined that the existing college process needed a stronger emphasis on student learning outcomes, consistency across program areas, flexibility to account for unique program components, and a holistic review of the general education program. In spring 2009, a new Program Review template and process was created and expanded to all areas of the College including academic, occupational, student services, and administrative services. The templates include a common set of questions with some customized measures for specific program and service areas. New Program Review templates align with the College’s strategic directions, incorporate a learning-centered philosophy, and include a dedicated focus on student learning outcomes based on defined general education abilities, and contain common questions for all areas.

The new process was implemented during the 2009-2010 academic year with four academic programs, three student service programs, nine occupational programs and eight SouthWest Skill Center programs. The Estrella Mountain process for Program Review is now on a three-year cycle, with areas completing annual updates during off-cycle years to identify program changes or emerging trends. Monthly Program Review workshops are held to provide dedicated work time for all program reviewers. Workshops are facilitated by the Office of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness staff to assist with data collection and analysis. By spring 2011, all academic and occupational programs, as well as administrative services, had completed a Program Review using the new template. All remaining programs and services are scheduled to complete a Program Review by the end of the 2011-2012 academic year. All documentation, data collection, Program Reviews, and Annual Updates are hosted on a college Program Review SharePoint site and accessible for review by all employees.