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Academic Program Review

At Biola University, Academic Program Review (APR) serves as a year-long opportunity for department faculty to evaluate, reflect upon, and take action on a variety of facets of their program in a collaborative process. As a systematic approach, the APR is designed by the Office of Educational Effectiveness in conjunction with the Academic Dean and is comprised of multiple components. The APR usually occurs on the 6th-year of the program’s assessment schedule. 

Generally, the APRs are initiated by the Office of Educational Effectiveness with an initial meeting conducted for the dean(s) and their designees (faculty, chairs, directors) who will assist and coordinate the self-study. The orientation provides an overview of the institutional requirements for self-study and direction on how the APR should be conducted. The degree program is expected to complete all the components of their self-study within the academic year.

Academic Program Review Schedule

The Academic Program Review occurs in a six-year cycle.

APR Year



Talbot School of Theology



Rosemead School of Psychology

Cook School of Intercultural Studies


School of Science, Technology and Health


School of Humanities and Social Science

Torrey Honors College

Crowell School of Business


School of Education

School of Fine Arts and Communication

School of Cinema and Media Arts

    Components of an Academic Program Review

    The APR is broken down into three main areas: Self-Study, External Review, Action Plan. While there may be one person leading the APR in their program, usually the chair or director, it is expected that all faculty (full-time and regular adjunct faculty) are engaged in APR throughout the year. The most effective and impactful APRs are the ones where constituents at all levels are involved and engaged in frequent conversation and reflection throughout the self-study.


    The bulk of the APR, self-study occurs in the fall with components related to review of degree program requirements, budget, faculty, observation, and reflection on data from University Analytics, Marketing, Career, Annual PLO Assessment reports, and indirect evidence of student learning (focus groups and surveys).

    External Review

    The eternal reviewer is typically selected in the fall in collaboration with the Academic Dean and invited to review the program on campus in February or March. The external reviewer should be from an aspirant institution, with expertise in the discipline/industry, purpose and elements of a program review, and familiar with Biola’s context. The Office of Educational Effectiveness does provide a small amount of funding to help with the external review expenses, but the department should also be prepared to cover additional costs above what is provided.

    Action Plan and Executive Summary

    The action plan is where the department faculty identify and plan out strategic improvements to undertake over the next 6-years, until the next APR. This action plan is to be specific and measurable, and designate who will lead these action items and when they are expected to be completed. The Office of Educational Effectiveness will check-in with the department mid-cycle on the progress of the action items.

    An executive summary of the entire process, strengths, areas for improvement, and action plans, will be posted on the University Program Learning Outcomes website.

    Specialized Accreditation

    Programs that have specialized or professional accrediting bodies, please meet with Eileen Soto, Director of Educational Effectiveness to align the APR components and schedule with the specialized accrediting agency expectations. While many of the components will overlap, there may be gaps to be filled in the APR.


    For more resources related to Academic Program Review, view our Templates and Forms.