Researching and Writing the Self-Study Report

Departments collect and analyze data relevant to the self-study report.  In writing the report, departments conduct an evidence-based analysis of the meaning, quality, integrity and sustainability of each program by: 1) discussing and analyzing relevant data; 2) identifying key discoveries; and 3) proposing changes for improvement. Departments build upon these discoveries to create program goals and propose changes for quality improvement. (WSCUC CFR 2.2, 2.7)

The University expects broad faculty participation in the interpretation of data, discussion of results, and decisions for improvement.

Click here for a pdf version of the Self-Study Guidelines


Department Overview

Department profile, including what was learned and accomplished as a result of the last review

Meaning, Quality and Integrity of the Degree(s)

Assessing Program Quality

1. Student Learning and Academic Success
2. Student Satisfaction
3. Graduate’s Success
4. Faculty Quality

Assessing Program Sustainability

5. Student Recruitment, Retention and Graduation
6. Contributions to the University
7. Societal and Professional Needs

Proposed Program Quality Improvement

8. Five-Year Program Goals
9. Summary of Proposed Changes and Resources Needed




Create a profile of your program that describes your department and its mission, vision, etc.  Include what was learned in the last program review and what changes were made based on those findings.  Also be sure to define the meaning, quality, and integrity degree (MQID*) of the degree(s) by answering the following:

  • What is the purpose/significance of the program experience?
  • What is your distinguishing way of accomplishing student learning?
  • How is the program more than the sum of its courses?

(WSCUC CFRs 1.2 and 2.2)

* The goals, coherence, sequencing, alignment, resourcing, and overall quality of the educational experience leading to conferral of an institution’s degree (2013 WSCUC Handbook of Accreditation, p. 52).




How well do the program learning outcomes represent the scope and depth of learning appropriate to the degree/certificate program and appropriate to the standards of the discipline/ profession offered? (WSCUC CFR 2.2a)

  • Students actively engaged in a challenging learning environment (WSCUC CFR 2.5)
  • Level of achievement of academic standards for success (WSCUC CFR 2.4)

How well does the curriculum, instruction, and assessment (CFR 4.4) offer sufficient opportunities for students to learn relevant disciplinary and professional knowledge, skills, competencies, etc. for the type and level of degree/certificate conferred?  (WSCUC CFR 2.3)

  • On-going utilization of assessment results for program planning and improvement
  • Current methods and procedures for assessing achievement of student learning outcomes (WSCUC CFRs 2.4 and 2.6)
  • Impact of program improvements on student learning

How does the curriculum align with student learning outcomes at the course (CLOs), program (PLOs), and institution (ILOs) level?

  • How do all the parts build on each other in a coherent, intentional way?
  • What has the department learned about the sequence students take courses and its impact on student learning and educational experience?
  • How have department course scheduling practices impacted students’ educational experience in the program?

What has the department learned from annual assessment results during the past five years to guide on-going program improvements?

What academic co-curricular offerings are available to help students succeed (such as academic labs, tutoring, advising, mentoring, etc.)? (WSCUC CFRs 2.11, 2.12 and 2.13)

How do you periodically evaluate online courses offered by your program?



How satisfied are students with your program’s curriculum, faculty, program administration, general learning environment, campus facilities and student services? Do their answers meet department expectations?

  • Student satisfaction as measured by graduating student and alumni surveys
  • Qualitative feedback from students (e.g., interviews, focus groups)
  • Student timely progress to obtaining a degree
  • Reflection on students’ sense of belonging in the program
  • Other department evidence

(WSCUC CFR 2.10)



To what extent are graduates succeeding in relevant careers, graduate programs, community service, creative endeavors (or other methods of determining graduate success)? 

  • Student perceptions about attaining personal and professional goals
  • Information from employers, graduate schools, licensure exams or other external sources to assess graduates’ success
  • Other kinds of achievements or outcomes used to measure graduate success

(WSCUC CFR 1.2, 2.6, 2.10)



How well does department faculty meet the needs of the program (e.g., in terms of teaching experience, areas of expertise, academic qualifications, committee and advising needs)?  What are the particular strengths and areas for improvement in the department faculty composition? (WSCUC CFRs 2.1 and 3.1)

  • Evaluation of the teaching effectiveness of faculty(WSCUC CFR 2.9)
  • Professional development, scholarship and service (WSCUC CFR 2.8)
  • Standards for faculty hiring
  • Distribution of faculty workload
  • Integration of adjunct faculty into the program beyond the courses they teach




How well does the program attract, retain and graduate the mix of students sought by the department (e.g., target markets, qualifications)?

How effective are the department’s recruitment and admission processes? 

What does the program do to improve retention, attrition, and graduation rates? 

(WSCUC CFRs 2.7, and 4.1)



In what ways does the program contribute to the University mission and vision? (WSCUC CFRs 1.1 and 4.6)

  • Program alignment to University mission
  • Specialized accreditation (if applicable)
  • How the program aligns to needs in the target area
  • Unique contributions
  • External recognition



How well does the program address societal and professional needs (e.g., partnerships with organizations, community involvement, specialized accreditation)? 

  • How well does this program meet current and potential future trends within the labor market and society
  • How this program differentiates itself from the competition
  • Any foreseen modifications that may be needed in order to stay current or competitive in the discipline

(WSCUC CFRs 4.6 and 4.7)




Identify the key goals that need to be achieved over the next five years to fulfill your mission.  Prioritize in order of importance and indicate who will follow up and when it will be completed.



Reflect upon the previous sections of this self-study.  Other than adding new faculty, what changes does the department propose to significantly improve the quality of this program? For each proposed change list:

  • Brief description of significant proposed change to improve the program
  • Rationale and evidence from the self-study that support this change
  • Rationale and evidence from the department mission that support this change
  • Resources needed for implementing this change

(WSCUC CFR 3.5, 4.3)



Assessment Plans: Attach annual assessment plans and other pertinent evidence related to assessment of learning

(e.g. rubrics, copies of survey instruments, other assessment instruments).

Stewardship Reviews:

  • Inputs (faculty, etc.)
  • Objectives (Department and student learning outcomes)
  • Assessments (what and how they’re measuring and how they’re doing)
  • Analysis (What does it all mean? Are there any gaps? What are they going to do about it?)
  • Note: Do NOT include budget sheets

Department Report Cards/Dashboards

Student Satisfaction Survey Results: Attach evidence related to student satisfaction.

Graduate Survey Results: Attach evidence related to graduate survey information.

Outcomes Alignment Matrix: List all courses offered in your curriculum. Identify program learning outcome/s taught in each course and at what level- (H) High, (M) Medium, (L) Low, or (N) No coverage. Also attach other pertinent evidence of curriculum alignment.

MRS Sheets for each program

Faculty CVs: Attach, in alphabetical order, all active faculty CVs

Faculty Work/Teach Load: List teaching load and other assigned duties for each faculty.

Student Retention, Attrition, and Graduation Data: Attach pertinent evidence related to student retention, attrition, and graduation.

Student Demographics: Attach student demographics by gender, age, ethnicity, etc. Also attach other pertinent evidence related to student demographics.

Missions: State the University’s mission and your College’s mission. State your program mission and how it supports the University and College missions.

Please also have all course syllabi updated and available for access through your department website or eportfolio. 


The report should be concise, concentrate on the key issues/evidence/conclusions, and provide an open and impartial view of the program. While writing the report be mindful that it will be viewed by a variety of constituencies: those who will directly respond to the report (external reviewers, Dean, Vice President for Academics) and those within the BYUH community who will have online access to the report at the conclusion of the program review process.

Using the Self-Study Report Guidelines, the self-study report should be 20-25 pages, single-spaced with a cover page, table of contents, report headings and sections, and appendices.


A draft review will take place no later than two months prior to the site visit. The draft will be reviewed by the dean and a member of the Institutional Effectiveness and Accreditation Committee.

After the self-study draft is reviewed the department makes any necessary revisions and prepares the final copy.


The final report is due one month prior to the site visit. The following copies should be submitted:

  • 3 hard copies for the review team members (electronic copies will also be provided to team members)
  • 1 electronic copy should be posted on the department portfolio
  • Electronic copies for the President, Vice President for Academics, AVPAA, Dean, and Program Review Coordinator

The printing cost for the final report will be covered by University Assessment. The total budgeted cost for all printed copies is $250. Please be mindful of this budget when preparing the self-studies.  Upon the discretion of the chair, extensive appendices may be included in electronic submissions and omitted from the printed versions.  Departments may print additional copies for their record, however, any cost over $250 will be the responsibility of the department.

Departments will print and prepare the copies for distribution then forward them to the Program Review Coordinator. The AVPAA will distribute the copies along with a letter and charge for reviewers.



While researching and writing the self-study report, the Dean, University Assessment and the Institutional Research Office are available for assistance and consultation. Assessment has set aside support resources for conducting focus groups and administering surveys. The IR Office will provide a standard data set to departments for use while conducting self-studies. It is expected that departments will analyze and use these data sets to generate more questions that can be researched and explored further with IR support.  Departments should familiarize themselves with the Standards and Criteria for Review (CFR) contained in the 2013 WSCUC Handbook of Accreditation Revised. The self-study should address and include reference to appropriate CFRs.


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