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Washington State University Graduate School

Graduate Program Review


The Graduate School conducts academic program reviews of all graduate degree programs every three years with support from faculty and the college deans of each academic unit. The Graduate School works with program directors and graduate chairs to schedule, coordinate, and disseminate the results of the program reviews. The purpose of graduate program review is to assist college and program leadership in: (1) evaluating how effectively the graduate program is achieving its educational goals, (2) identifying the program’s strengths and weaknesses, and (3) developing plans for improvement and priorities for future program growth and development.

Graduate Program Review Schedule

The Graduate School completed program reviews of all master’s-only programs in Spring 2016 and all doctoral programs in Spring 2015. A Summary Report for each program review cycle is distributed to graduate programs, colleges, campuses, and university leadership. WSU faculty and staff can access the discussion guides and all of the program review materials on the Graduate School’s SharePoint site. (WSU network log-in/departmental access required.)

Guidelines for Graduate Program Review

The Graduate School’s program review process includes: a review of information provided by each graduate program, a review of data provided by Institutional Research and the Graduate School, and an evaluation of the program’s policies and practices that support graduate students. Graduate program review is intended to help programs: (1) improve the training and education of graduate students, (2) ensure that graduate students are optimally prepared for careers in their field, and (3) increase the overall research capacity of the university.

In preparation for graduate program review, the program director/chair is asked to submit the following information to the Graduate School:

  1. Student Handbook — or similar documents describing the program structure, curriculum, policies, and practices
  2. Graduate Assessment Plan — including program objectives, student learning outcomes, data sources, assessment tools, and recent assessment or self-study reports
  3. Student Annual Reviews  — for all currently enrolled graduate students in the previous academic year
  4. List of Current Students — with indication of financial support such as assistantships and fellowships, etc.
  5. List of Recent Graduates — with information describing each student’s placement status since graduation from WSU

While this information is gathered, the Assistant Dean and the Director of Graduate Assessment at the Graduate School, with assistance from Institutional Research, assembles and analyzes the following data:

  1. Programs of Study — a sample of 10 programs of study for students in the program is reviewed for consistency, adherence to policy, use of conjoint and cooperative courses, and faculty committee composition.
  2. Catalog Courses — courses listed in the catalog were reviewed; conjoint and cooperative courses were noted for discussion during the review meeting.
  3. Graduate Program Profiles — compiled by Institutional Research; shows the new enrollment and total enrollment over several years; degrees conferred over that time; avg time to degree for full-time, part-time and overall; cohort performance (retention); graduate assistantships by student and department; and faculty involvement (chairing committees).
  4. Teacher Assignment Data — compiled by Institutional Research; shows the faculty who served as committee chairs for students by major and by appointing department for the previous academic year.
  5. Graduate Committee Data — compiled by the Graduate School; describes faculty participation on graduate student committees from programs of study including chairs, co-chairs, and graduate committee members.
  6. Graduate Student Survey Data — a comprehensive survey of all currently enrolled WSU graduate students was conducted by the Social and Economic Sciences Research Center (SESRC) in Spring 2014; academic units receive aggregate data at the degree program level and comparison results from the 2011 Graduate Student Survey and a related peer group, i.e., all doctoral students in the College.

All of the review materials are summarized in a discussion guide that is used at the program review meeting. Individual program review meetings are scheduled for the Dean, Associate Deans, and Director of Graduate Assessment from the Graduate School to discuss the review materials, relevant findings, and recommendations for improvement with the program director and/or chair for each graduate program. WSU college and campus administrators are encouraged to attend the review meetings.


Updated: 12/5/17.