June 2019: ARC Review

Dear SPS Academic Directors and Faculty,

Every five to seven years, the School of Professional Studies participates in an Academic Review process that is initiated by A&S (Academic Review Committee, ARC) and the Provost’s Office (Provost Academic Review, PAR). The purpose of this review is to assess the current state of the school, its future trajectory, as well as identifying challenges faced by its academic programs. As educators, you surely understand the value of assessment as a vital process that helps us to identify what we are truly doing well, but more importantly, it also identifies areas that we can strive to improve.

The ARC review is a lengthy process, but in the end the goal is to emerge with a clear understanding of the SPS vision for delivering the highest quality professional education. The ARC committee is comprised of fifteen tenured faculty members, five from the humanities, five from social sciences, and five from the natural sciences. The Executive Vice President for A&S, the Chief Administrative and Academic Affairs Officer, and the Associate Vice President for Academic Planning serve as ex officio. The Divisional Dean of Social Science, in this case, Fred Harris, along with Melissa Begg, Vice Provost for Academic Programs, will lead the process which is comprised of three major parts: the Self-Study, the External Review, and the Internal Review.

The Self-Study is a comprehensive critical analysis which serves as the basis for identifying future directions and opportunities for enhancement, which will be due on August 15, 2019. The report portrays the current state of affairs and is directed to clearly lay out the vision for the next five to ten years. The report is considered a confidential document, but will be made available to the faculty of SPS, relevant administrators, and the Provost and President.

The External Review Committee (ERC), selected by the EVP for A&S in consultation with the ARC Committee, is comprised of peers, generally two to three individuals, who possess expertise within the area of Professional Studies. In advance of the Committee’s visit to Columbia, the team will be provided with our self-study report, as well as CV’s and/or bios of the faculty. During the visit, the team will request to speak to faculty and key administrative people throughout the school, and will be provided with various forms of data as needed. Two weeks after the site visit, the ERC will provide its report to the Provost. Prior to delivering the ERC report to the faculty, the Provost and Dean will have an opportunity to correct any errors.

Finally, the Internal Review Committee (IRC), designated by the Provost, is provided with the self-study and the ERC’s report. After discussing the content of these reports, the IRC will meet with faculty, students, and relevant deans/administrators. The IRC will review and consider all documents and interviews in the preparation of the final report that reflects the findings of the ARC Committee.

In order to complete this review, I will be reaching out to many of you, at the request of the committee, to solicit your participation. I ask for your thoughtful comments and critiques, as the main goal, once again, is to strive to make SPS the best school of Professional Studies in existence. I thank you in advance for your cooperation, and your commitment to making this a truly valuable report.