Psychology Home at The University of West Georgia

Overview

In October 2000, the Board of Regents of the University System of Georgia mandated Program Review: To foster a “systematic examination” of academic programs, "faculty and administrators [are] to assess the relative value of [programs] in terms of viability, productivity and quality.”  The Department of Psychology began this self-study in response to this mandate, all the while keeping in mind “the guiding philosophy” of the University of West Georgia, that program review “is to focus on multiple measurements of institutional effectiveness” and that each program is to conduct a self-study addressing the criteria proposed by the Board of Regents. Accordingly, the Department defined expectations, gathered and analyzed both quantitative and qualitative data on student achievement,  and assessed the expectations in light of internal standards and external benchmarks.  The purpose of this review was to provide useful information for the progressive improvement and adjustment of the programs being studied.

The areas that were to be addressed by this review include:

Curriculum Review - demonstrating that a “periodic review of the curriculum (focusing on coherence, level, and comparison with similar programs) is carried out, based on assessment of learning outcomes and other types of feedback, such as practice in the field.”

Design of Learning Experiences - demonstrating that departmental learning experiences “are designed to reinforce the general attributes of a college graduate through recognized good practices such as the following:

  •      High expectations of students 
  •      Coherence in learning 
  •      Synthesizing experiences 
  •      Integrating education and experience 
  •      Active learning 
  •      Ongoing practice of learned skills 
  •      Prompt feedback to students 
  •      Collaborative learning 
  •      Significant time on task 
  •      Respect for diverse talents and ways of learning”

Attrition Rates - providing evidence that we have been monitoring “attrition rates in light of similar rates for comparator institutions, with particular attention to sub-populations of the student body.  The program demonstrates that it has a process in place to monitor and promote student progress.”

Adherence to Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Criteria - e.g., developing guidelines and procedures to evaluate educational effectiveness, including the quality of student learning and of research and service.  This is to be carried out by “gathering and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data that demonstrate student achievement.”

“Measures to evaluate academic programs . . . [which] may include the following: evaluation of instructional delivery; adequacy of facilities and equipment; standardized tests; analysis of theses, portfolios, and recitals; completion rates; results of admissions tests for students applying to graduate or licensing examinations; evaluations by employers; follow-up studies of alumni; and performance of student transfers at receiving institutions.  The institution must evaluate its success with respect to student achievement in relation to purpose, including as appropriate, consideration of course completion, state licensing examinations, and job placement.”

We are aware that “institutions must demonstrate that they make judgments about the future of academic programs within a culture of evidence” and that “programs accredited by external entities may substitute an external review for institutional program review, provided the external review meets University System and institutional requirements for program review.” 

Departmental Program Review Self-Study Parameters

In conducting this self-study, departmental faculty 
a.  Reviewed and revised mission statement for departmental programs and related this to College and University missions, and professional association principles/guidelines.
b.  Developed a statement articulating the department’s humanistic/transpersonal orientation.
c.  Developed a survey for undergraduate and graduate students based on the departmental mission statement and distributed this to graduates (Fall 1998 to Fall 2000).
d.  Reviewed departmental syllabi.
e.  Reviewed and revised requirements for the undergraduate major.
f.   Reviewed program objectives and their articulation with course objectives re: Core Curriculum, Undergraduate Major (BA) and Graduate (MA) Program in Psychology.
g.  Reviewed departmental variable credit offerings (i.e.,  independent study, practicum and thesis classes) for both graduate and undergraduate students.
h.  Reviewed previous external review/accreditation visit report and sought to arrange more recent external review by the Consortium for Diversified Programs in Psychology (CDPP). 
i.  Reviewed documentation available on student achievements/perspectives re: graduate (MA) program.
j.  Developed proposal for Ph.D. program  in “Consciousness and Society.” 
k. Reviewed MA theses completed Fall 1998-2000.
l.  Reviewed adequacy of available resources for support of departmental activities (e.g., space, library, budget). 
m.  Reviewed sampling of data on diversity of our student population (MA Program, Fall, 2000). n.  Initiated collection of student papers. [Note: Due to the fact that our department encourages personal exploration, and some students feel comfortable sharing personal information with faculty but not with a wider audience, several high-quality papers are not presented here.]

Accompanying this NOTEBOOK (#1) are six (6) other notebooks.
NOTEBOOK #2 contains documentation of UNDERGRADUATE (BA) PROGRAM information
NOTEBOOK #3 contains SYLLABI for undergraduate courses.
NOTEBOOK #4 contains documentation of GRADUATE (MA) PROGRAM information.
NOTEBOOK #5 contains SYLLABI for graduate courses.
NOTEBOOK #6 contains FACULTY VITAE/ACHIEVEMENTS.
NOTEBOOK #7 contains SAMPLES OF STUDENT WORK.
These are available in the Psychology Department Office.

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