Departments and degree-granting programs are the academic "homes" for the courses in which students enroll. In order to ensure that NCC students receive the best education possible and that students' own expectations for their academic success are met, programs not accredited by an outside body are required to be fully reviewed (assessed) by the institution every five years. The entire Program Review (SUNY Review of the Major) process is detailed in the Procedures for Review of Degree and Certificate Programs. Externally accredited programs are regularly reviewed by their individual accreditors, on cycles set by the accreditor.
The review requires programs to submit a self-study report, which is reviewed by the Department Chair, the Area Dean, and the Office for Academic Assessment and Program Review. The Area Dean submits a separate report on the program, providing the administration perspective, and both of these reports are provided to the two external reviewers selected to evaluate the program. Following a full-day site visit, the external reviewers provide a final report on the program, including recommendations for improvement. This report is distributed to the Department Chair, the Area Dean and others as appropriate. The final report, including response from the program and/or the Area Dean if necessary, is kept on file in the Office for Academic Assessment and Program Review. After the review, the Department Chair works with the Area Dean to create a 5-year action plan that responds to the recommendations of the reviewers.
Learning outcomes assessments at the program level are constructed around the knowledge and skills students must demonstrate in order to be awarded a degree or certificate. If a program is accredited by an outside body, learning outcomes are generally set by the accreditor, which will require valid and reliable evidence that program students are achieving these outcomes.
Programs not accredited by an outside body set learning outcomes based on disciplinary norms as interpreted by the program’s faculty. Program curriculum maps identify the courses which provide learning relevant to program outcomes, and from which data are collected to ensure program learning. Learning outcomes assessment results are evaluated on an ongoing basis by the program faculties, and discussion of assessment results occurs during the SUNY Program Review process and external accreditor processes as well. Results of learning assessments are always meant to be used to improve student learning and other outcomes, as well as the overall program.