September 7, 2000

CALS Celebrates Academic Review

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Recognizing the culmination of three years’ work, faculty and staff involved in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) Academic Program Review celebrated the beginning of the project’s implementation phase with a dinner at the Statler Hotel.

The mammoth project organized an internal review of the college’s curriculum, instructional programs, teaching environment and support services incorporating input from 1300 students, 300 faculty, 300 alumni and 60 employers.

“I am so pleased with this three-year process,” Dean Sutphin, Associate Dean of CALS, said. “We have collectively made a comprehensive review of our academic program.”

Based on focus groups, questionnaires, a computer-assisted survey team, external reviews and a variety of other techniques, the program review came up with 140 recommendations for improving the college.

But according to Dean Sutphin, Associate Dean of the CALS, one of the biggest benefits of the project may have been that the big stockholders in the college had a say in the review process.

“One of the defining elements of the project was that [CALS] professors, faculty and students will be much more aware because they had ownership and were engaged [in the process],” Sutphin said.

Walter Cohen, vice provost and dean of the graduate school, agreed that the by-products of the process were as valuable as the results.

“The important part is the mandatory self-reflection the review requires,” Cohen said. “Internal reviews make it possible [for faculty] to learn from the wisdom of [their] colleagues.”

Improvements set to be implemented because of the project include creating a common core of first-year undergraduate events and orientations, starting a pre-college summer program for high school students, enhancing study abroad and other forms of global education, evaluating the teaching process and improving advising services.

Acknowledging the effort that went into the project, Susan Murphy, vice president of student and academic services, added her congratulations.

“I want to commend you for not sitting back on your laurels,” Murphy said. “The work you’re doing positions [CALS] to maintain a position of excellence, and sets a tremendous example for others across the University to follow.”

Archived article by Aaron Reisner