Program Review and Assessment

Program Improvement Process


Background - Recent History and Why We are Using the Program Improvement Process (PIP-PAR)

The Program Improvement Process grew out of earlier campus initiatives related to program prioritization.  This effort is aligned with the university's focus on continuous improvement and providing the highest quality education possible for students.  On Wednesday, October 21, 2020, the Faculty Senate approved a motion to move from program prioritization to program improvement, and this was subsequently approved by Chancellor Connie Foster.

Former Program Prioritization Process (PP-PAR)

The campus community has requested program prioritization for more than a decade.  For example, there were periodic  informal discussions about the need for this type of process during the administration of Chancellor Anne Lydecker.  Subsequently, during the beginning stage of Reach for the Future in 2006, as that strategic planning process was labeled, there were meetings in the River Falls Public Library that included faculty, staff, and administrators; the item that received the most support, by far, was prioritization.  Since then the university community has worked collaboratively to utilize program prioritization.  In 2008-09 the Faculty Senate and Chancellor Connie Foster approved a prioritization process that was used to collect data, to provide evaluations of programs, and to rank them.  The conclusion reached after implementing the effort reads, in part, "Faculty Senate accepts the current program prioritization process as an appropriate and useful exercise that should be seen through to conclusion. . . . Faculty Senate recommends that program prioritization, upon revision, become an ongoing initiative . . ." 

During 2010-2013 the program prioritization process was reviewed by the Academic Program and Policy Committee, an ad hoc Committee on Program Prioritization, the Faculty Senate, and the Administration.  Input from the university community was critical to the collaborative development of the revised plan, and Faculty Senate approved the new program prioritization processes on three separate occasions (May 2, 2012, December 12, 2012, and May 8, 2013), with strong support from Chancellor Dean Van Galen.  The Faculty Senate vote on May 8, 2013 showed 22 votes in favor, 0 opposed, and 0 abstentions, and these votes initiated a "trial year" designed to test the process.

After conducting the first "trial year" of program prioritization some modifications of the process were approved by the Faculty Senate on February 5, 2014 by a vote of 18 in favor, 1 opposed, and 2 abstentions.  Subsequent modifications to the components focusing on the placement of graduates, faculty qualifications, and strategic planning were approved on February 3, 2020.



Program Improvement Process Goals

First, the process is intended to provide useful information to the campus at large, and to departments and programs to help with ongoing responsibilities such as assessment and program improvement.  It is critical to stress that the process is informative for decision makers, rather than deterministic.   

The second goal is to combine the program improvement, assessment, and program audit and review processes. Hence, the label PIP-PAR (program improvement process and program audit and review).

A third goal of PIP-PAR is to integrate program assessment into a single, combined process, creating synergies and efficiencies between program improvement, program audit and review, and assessment.


Program Prioritization Files and Information

PP-PAR files and information are located on the university's T-drive, accessible to faculty, staff, and administrators through Falcon Share.  The files can also be accessed from university computers using the following path: Computer > Campus (\\ (t:) > Collaboration > Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment.

To determine when a program is scheduled for program prioritization, please consult the "PP-PAR Schedule," which can also be located following the above path.  This excel document is located within the Program Review folder.


Key Dates

2023-2024 Program Improvement process Deadlines and Tasks (partial, tentative listing)*

Program chairs should access the PIP-PAR files on the T: drive for additional information and directions.  The upcoming tasks and deadlines include:

July 1, 2023:  Programs in the full Program Audit and Review cycle who wish to request an external reviewer must make the request following the processes defined in the "Six-Year Review of Academic Programs" document.

September 18, 2023  Assessment plans and reports are due (email to for programs in the full program audit and review process.

January 22, 2024:  Assessment plans and reports are due (email to for programs in the program improvement process cycle for 2023-24.

February 1, 2024:  Program review reports are due (email to for program in the full program audit and review process.

* Dates are subject to revision, and appropriate notice will be provided if changes occur.

2025-26 PIP-PAR

The following programs are in the 2025-26 program improvement process cycle. The schedule listing when all programs will be reviewed is available at T:\Collaboration\Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment\ProgRev

This page is being updated.

2023-24 PIP-PAR

The following programs are in the 2023-2024 program improvement process cycle. The schedule listing when all programs will be reviewed is available at T:\Collaboration\Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment\ProgRev

  • Accounting BS & BA
  • Animal Science BS
  • Applied Computing (Collaborative) BS (also PAR)
  • Art BFA & BS
  • Art Education BS & BA
  • Art (Fine Arts) BFA
  • Associate Arts and Sciences (Collaborative)
  • Biology BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Business Administration BS & BA
  • Business Administration MBA
  • Computer Science and Information Systems BS & BA
  • Criminology BS (also PAR, from 2022-23)
  • Dairy Science BS
  • English BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Environmental Engineering BS (also PAR)
  • Environmental Science BS (also PAR)
  • Finance BS
  • Food Science and Technology BS
  • Geography BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Geology BS
  • Management BS
  • Marketing BS
  • Montessori MSE (also PAR)
  • Psychology BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Reading MSE
  • School Supervision and Instructional Leader MSE- Educational Leadership (also PAR)
  • School Supervision and Instructional Leader MSE- Principal Licensure Program (also PAR)
  • Secondary Education MSE- Mathematics (also PAR)
  • Secondary Education MSE- STEMTeach (also PAR)
  • Secondary Education MSE- Total of Mathematics and STEMTeach (also PAR)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages BS & BA (also PAR, from 2022-23)
  • Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages MA (also PAR, from 2022-23)

2024-25 PIP-PAR

The following programs are in the 2024-2025 program improvement process cycle. The schedule listing when all programs will be reviewed is available at T:\Collaboration\Program Prioritization-Audit-Review-Assessment\ProgRev

  • Agricultural Business BS (also PAR)
  • Agricultural Education BS
  • Agricultural Education MS
  • Agricultural Studies BS
  • Clinical Exercise Physiology MS (also PAR)
  • Communication Studies BS & BA
  • Conservation and Environmental Planning BS
  • Counseling MSE
  • Crop and Soil Science BS (also PAR)
  • Data Science BS
  • Early Childhood Education BS
  • Economics BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Engineering Technology BS (also PAR)
  • Health and Human Performance BS & BA (also PAR)
  • History BS & BA
  • International Studies BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Journalism BS & BA
  • Marketing Communications BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Modern Languages BS & BA
  • Montessori Ed.D.
  • Social Studies, Broad Field BS & BA (also PAR)
  • Social Work BSW
  • Sustainable Management (Collaborative) BS (postponed from 2023-2024)

Questions related to PIP-PAR should be directed to Wes Chapin, 104 North Hall, (715) 425-0629.

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