Assessing Over Time: The Political Science Program Review

Michelle D. Deardorff

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Michelle D. Deardorff (University of Tennessee at Chattanooga) discusses the process of program review within political science departments, including a site visit from an external reviewer, from the perspective of someone who has done self studies at three different types of institutions and who served as an external reviewer for several different types of programs. This article examines the role of program review in non-accredited departments, suggesting techniques for both meeting institutional requirements for a self-study and for exploiting the findings from the review to enhance departmental outcomes and resources. The author notes the importance of having a clear understanding of what the department needs and carefully advocate for it, using the external reviewer as a partner. In addition, the author attempts to distinguish between the purpose and utility of annual department assessment and periodic program review. It also addresses the difficulties of unaccredited programs (all political science programs) in competing for institutional resources with out programs and attempts to identify approaches through which the site visit might be leveraged on campus and in systems. With the resource challenges facing higher education today and the negative perception of political science, program review is our opportunity to rewrite the script relative to our departments on our own campuses.

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PS: Political Science & Politics / Volume 49 / Issue 01 / January 2016, pp 103-106

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