Chapter 8: Chair Involvement in Assessment and Program Review

The College of St. Benedict and St. John's University (CSB/SJU) are committed to supporting high quality academic departments and programs that will provide our students with an excellent liberal arts education. As we seek wider national recognition for the education we offer at CSB/SJU, our institutions, departments, and programs must invest in ongoing self-evaluation with the goal of improving and reinvigorating both the focused learning offered by our departments and programs as well as our overall education in the liberal arts.

Oversight of departmental self-evaluation activities is a critical role of the department [program] chair. The department chair should be familiar with this Systematic Evaluation of Academic Learning (SEAL), which provides structure for the processes involved in documenting, sustaining, and improving academic excellence at CSB/SJU. The SEAL provides clear and detailed descriptions of the following:

  • The information to be included in the Annual Report (AR), which is to be submitted to the chair of APSAC, the Director of the Office of Academic Review and Curricular Advancement, and the academic dean by June 30 at the end of every academic year (see Chair's calendar The IAR should place particular emphasis upon the department [program]'s yearly academic assessment activities, as well as on progress made that year toward achieving goals set as part of the department's last Program Review.
  • Institutional expectations and procedures for periodic Program Review with particular emphasis upon the place of the department's academic assessment activities in carrying out Program Review, and the role of the Annual Report in tracking programmatic initiatives undertaken as a result of Program review.

The continual improvement process begins with Program Review, which is conducted every ten years or as required by outside accreditation bodies. The final step in Program review is an Action Plan, negotiated by the department and administration. The Action Plan details the goals that will be achieved to address issues identified in the Program Review. The AR, which is filed in subsequent years, reports the department's assessment activities and results, and also reflects on progress toward achieving the goals identified in the Action Plan. The department [program] chair is responsible for ensuring timely submission of the AR. However, development and implementation of the department's assessment plan may be delegated to an individual (the Department Assessment Coordinator) or committee (the Departmental Assessment Coordinating Committee). It is then the department [program] chair's responsibility to ensure the designated individual/group is actually working to put the department or program assessment plan into practice.

The details of the continual improvement process are published in the most recent version of the SEAL, which is available on the website of the Office of Academic Review and Curricular Advancement ( The site also offers a Program Review calendar that indicates the year in which each department is scheduled for Program Review.

For more information on the department chair's involvement in assessment and Program Review, contact the academic dean.

Last updated: October 2013