External Review of Graduate Programs

Michigan Tech's process of External Review of Graduate Programs asks the question: Are our graduate programs keeping up with their fields?

The procedures for periodic external program review are posted online.  External graduate program review is organized cooperatively among the hosting academic department or interdisciplinary steering committee and the college dean (if appropriate), graduate dean, and the provost. 

There are two pathways to external review, through a professional accreditor and through the Michigan Tech process.  Several Michigan Tech graduate programs participate in professional accreditation. The external review of these programs is conducted by these professional accreditation agencies using the accreditor’s processes, and the results are used to guide continuous improvement of these graduate programs. 

Most graduate programs at Michigan Tech are not associated with professional accreditors and are reviewed by the Michigan Tech External Review process, in which the provost and the graduate program host invite respected colleagues to campus to review the host’s graduate programs.  Interdisciplinary graduate programs link with departmental programs for the purposes of the external review.  External reviews are scheduled every twelve years.

Regular, periodic reviews of academic degree programs provide a formal process for thorough, fact-based documentation and evaluation of the programs, the infrastructure supporting them, and the plans for their growth and improvement.  A distinctive feature of external reviews is that they include evaluation of the offering unit’s resources and how those resources are managed to promote the overall success of the degree program.  

To present their programs to the visiting team, program hosts prepare a self-study report.  The external review self study presents to the external review team a complete picture of the programs under review.  The self study interprets and puts into context the more detailed documentation that is included in the appendices.  The intended audience for this document is the external review team, which consists of two off-campus members and one on-campus member.

The external review team receives a charge for the review from the provost’s office and produce an external review report.  The external review report becomes the key product of the review, along with the responses to the review from the program host(s), its academic leadership, and the university’s leadership.  The periodic external review process keeps Michigan Tech’s graduate programs in step with developments in our academic disciplines, and fosters regular reflection and improvement in our graduate education and scholarship.

More questions on graduate program review? See our FAQ page.