Evaluation of Graduate Programs
State University of New York Policy Handbook, No. 130 (Revised Edition 1981)
It is the policy of State University of New York to offer graduate programs to serve
the need of individual students and society. To foster the attainment and maintenance of
high academic quality and to promote a continuing responsiveness to changing needs for the
dimensions of such programs, it is necessary to establish detailed procedures for
evaluation and approval of all graduate programs, and, there after, to make a careful
review of all approved and active programs at regular intervals.
Responsibility for the conduct of each graduate degree program resides with the faculty
of that program. It is also the responsibility of the faculty and administration of each
unit of the University to conduct periodic reviews of all graduate programs, to evaluate
the findings these reviews, to report the results of the Office of the Vice Chancellor for
Research and Graduate Study, and to take actions which are intended to increase the value
of the program to graduate students, the University, and society.
Initiation of the Evaluation of the New Program
Any interested faculty group may propose a new graduate program via the procedures set
forth in the following sections. The filing of an internal evaluation report (see
Procedure, A.) with the Dean of Graduate Studies (or corresponding academic officer) shall
constitute a request that the Dean initiate the further steps in the evaluative process.
Evaluation of Existing Graduate Program
Periodic evaluations of existing graduate programs should be made at five-year
intervals. The Dean of Graduate Studies (or corresponding officer) of a unit shall be
responsible for initiating such reviews. Under certain circumstances evaluations at more
or less frequent intervals may be desirable. Such delay or acceleration should be
approved, subject to University policy, by the President of each State University campus
in consultation with the faculty of a program and the unit's Graduate Council or other
A. Internal Evaluation Report
The first step is preparation of an internal evaluation report by the faculty group
involved in the particular graduate program. This report serves the dual purpose of
involving responsible faculty in a critical self-study of the elements of the program and
informing external evaluators (see B) of the objectives and status of the program. A
similar format should be followed in the internal evaluation reports on both new programs
and existing programs. Appropriate inclusions are:
1. Qualitative Indices
a) General rationale for the program, including perceived needs to be met and intended
contributions to the discipline and to society. Numerical data on the need for the program
should be provided where available.
b) Structure of the program
i. Admission requirements and student selection procedures.
ii. General requirements for the degree.
iii. Specific requirements for the degree, including course descriptions, qualifying
examinations, language proficiency, minors, thesis or other terminal requirements, and
c) Quality of students. For new programs, provide information on projected sources and
caliber of students. For existing programs, outline the previous five-year experience with
i. Source of previous undergraduate and graduate degrees.
ii. Performance on standardized tests. iii. Professional and scientific contributions
iv. Placement of students on completion of degree.
d) Quality of faculty.
i. Curriculum vitae.
ii. Participation in national and international societies and meetings.
iii. Interdisciplinary associations.
iv. Editorial review, and committee activities.
v. Honors and awards.
vii. Instructional ability as indicated by graduate student evaluations
e) Quality of Program
i. Foci of emphasis
ii. Relationship to undergraduate instructional offerings.
iii. Coordination of course offerings.
iv. Advisement procedures and evaluation of student progress.
v. Innovative elements.
vi. Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary aspects.
vii. Participation of graduate students in undergraduate instructional activity. Extent of
supervision and guidance of such activity. Opportunities for graduate students to develop
viii. Graduate student perceptions of quality of program.
2. Quantitative Indices
a) For new programs, respond to i-vi. For existing programs, outline the previous
five-year experience with respect to i-x.
i. Physical facilities assigned to program
ii. Support facilities available from other resources.
iii. Library holding in this field and available from nearby libraries.
iv. Staff resources-secretarial, technician, etc.
v. Financial resources for the program from the University and from other agencies.
vi. Changes in faculty.
vii. Trends in student enrollment - graduate and undergraduate, full-time and part-time.
viii. Instructional services to other programs, including size of service load.
ix. Degrees completed - graduate and undergraduate.
b) Next five years
i. Projected enrollments with rationale for these enrollment figures.
ii. Resources and facilities needed to accommodate such enrollments.
3. Relation of Graduate Program to Other Programs
a) Relation to undergraduate programs on the campus.
b) Relation to other graduate programs on the campus.
i. Graduate programs of other departments.
ii. Interdisciplinary graduate programs.
iii. Multidisciplinary programs
c) Relation to graduate programs at other State University units.
i. In the region.
ii. In the state.
d) Relation to other graduate programs at private colleges and universities of the
region and state.
e) Opportunities and plans for developing cooperative relations with other graduate
programs, departments, institutions, and agencies.
B. External Evaluation Report
Following the preparation of the internal evaluation report, an evaluation panel will
be selected to visit the campus and evaluate the program. This process shall include
interviews with faculty, graduate students, and administrators related to the program. The
evaluation panel must consist of highly qualified individuals (normally three) in the
particular an/or related field who are not members of the unit of State University being
evaluated. The program faculty shall provide the Graduate Dean with names and
qualifications of individuals they believe are qualified to evaluate the program. The
Graduate Dean and the Graduate Council (or other comparable body) Shall be responsible for
ensuring that the evaluation panel is made up of individuals who are qualified to make the
evaluation. Arrangements of an evaluation visit shall be made by the Graduate Dean. On
completion of the visit the evaluation panel will make an oral report to the Graduate Dean
and subsequently will provide a written report (or Reports if each evaluator wishes to
submit an individual statement) indicating their findings and recommendations.
Particularly, in the interest of the State University as a whole, it is important that the
Graduate Dean ensure that the report include carefully considered answers to the following
1. Are general and specific goals of the program valid? How are they being met?
2. Is the need for the program and its graduates justified? Consider local, state, and
national needs and the appropriateness of the program for the particular State University
3. Are the proposed directions of growth of the program appropriate considering the
aims of the faculty in the program, the nature of the State University, and the goals of
4. What is the quality of the instructional and research (or creative) offerings of the
5. Is the level of scholarship (or creative Work) of the faculty identified with the
program suitable for this program? Does the program as operating or planned provide
sufficient opportunities for continued growth in quality of scholarship and creativity?
6. Are sufficient resources available to support the program and permit the future
planned growth? Consider faculty, staff support, graduate fellowship or trainee-ship
support, space, and administrative commitment of the University unit.
7. Does the program make appropriate use of existing resources of the University and
provide opportunity for innovative and flexible programs to meet the varied needs of
individual students and society?
8. What is the graduate students' perception of the quality of the program?
The report of the evaluation panel shall be submitted to the Graduate Dean, who will
then submit it to the Graduate Council (or other comparable body), and, through the
Director or Chairman, to the faculty members of the program. Where desirable, each of
these may prepare additional written materials in response to the report of the evaluation
C. President's Review
Copies of the internal evaluation report, the report of the evaluation panel, the
faculty unit's response to the evaluation report, and the response of the Graduate Dean
and Graduate Council (or other comparable body) shall be forwarded directly to the
President of the institution for his review. In many cases the president will wish to
discuss aspects of these reports with interested faculty or academic officers before
arriving at an institutional recommendation.
D. Report to the University
The President of the institution will forward copies of the internal evaluation report,
the evaluation panel report, the faculty unit's response to the evaluation report, and the
Graduate Dean and Graduate Council (or other comparable body) to the Vice Chancellor for
Research and Graduate study. In addition, the President will indicate the institutional
response to the recommendations which have been made. The Vice Chancellor will insure that
the response of the central staff is made within sixty days. Based on the composite
findings and recommendations made at the several stages of review, such response may be
approval of a program for a period, conditional approval for a limited time (in some
instances involving a subsequent reevaluation), or nonapproval.
[Memo, Chancellor to Presidents, 30 Nov 1972] RAGS