Template for a Self-Study Report

This template reflects a subdivision between analysis and data that support and inform the analysis. Other template models may be required by your institution or more appropriate to your departmental context. We recommend keeping Part I to no more than 20 pages, to keep the workload manageable.

Below is an example template for a self-study report if your institution does not have an existing report format.

Part I: Analysis and narrative.

This part should reflect key findings of data reported in Part II.

  1. Executive summary (max 2 pages)

  2. Description of the review process (max 1 page)

  3. Critical analysis of departmental data (see Part II) and questions for external reviewers to address; some groups find a SWOT analysis or SOAR analysis useful (max 4 pages)

    1. Summary and implications obtained by analyzing student learning outcome reports

    2. Key findings from analysis of data and potential implications, e.g., degree completion, persistence, course DFW rates, summary of programmatic and curricular assessment and any relevant curricular changes, rationale for degree tracks

    3. Discussion and relevance of questions posed to external reviewers

  4. Context (max 4 pages)

    1. Institution

      1. Short history, institutional focus (paragraph)

      2. Mission and/or vision statements

      3. Brief summary of strategic priorities

      4. Organization chart of your institution as relevant to your department, e.g., academic administration, study abroad, student life, instructional resources, advising, career services, human resources, diversity and equity

    2. Department

      1. Short history, departmental focus (paragraph)

      2. Mission and vision statements

      3. Chair details: Selection process, current term, list of past three chairs and terms (not to extend past 15 years)

      4. Faculty and staff breakdown by departmental category, e.g., tenured and tenure-track faculty, non-tenure-track faculty, teaching and learning assistants, graders, technicians, administrative support staff

      5. Sharing and delegation of administrative responsibilities, e.g., program assessment, recruiting, advising, faculty mentoring

      6. Regularly scheduled meetings and description of how decisions are made

  5. Peer and aspirant departments (max 3 pages)

    1. Selection process

    2. Comparison data

    3. Discussion

  6. Executive summaries, recommendations, and follow-on actions (initiatives and outcomes) from departmental or programmatic reviews from last five to seven years, e.g., last department review, diversity review, sub-field review (max 4 pages)

  7. Draft of departmental future objectives and potential actions to achieve them

  8. Pre-site visit questions for reviewers from the

    1. Department

    2. Administration (dean and/or provost)

Part II: Data.

Analysis of data should appear in Part I.

  1. Students (max 6 pages)

    1. Number of graduates in each degree/major offered over past five years

    2. Breakdown of graduates by demographic categories, and comparison to institutional and regional breakdowns and those of peer and aspirant departments

    3. Post-graduation education and employment

    4. Other data to consider: persistence (from e.g., first to second introductory physics course, introductory to intermediate physics course sequence), time to degree (for e.g., high school teacher certification pathways, three-year completion pathways), points of entry into the major (e.g., algebra or calculus-based introductory physics courses, transfer from another STEM major, two-year college entry), students’ research experiences, internships, study abroad, and other curriculum-related activities

  2. Degree tracks (max 5 pages)

    1. Curriculum map

    2. Sample student course sequences for various degree tracks within and outside your department

  3. Courses offered (max 5 pages)

    1. Enrollments for each course using metrics relevant to your institution, e.g., credit hours, head count, student-to-faculty ratio

    2. DFW rates in critical courses by demographic, particularly first-year and courses required for entry into the major, calling out courses with high DFW rates for any demographic

    3. List of instructors for each course for past four years

  4. Summary of programmatic and curricular assessment (max 5 pages)

    1. Student learning outcomes and description of assessment processes

    2. Annual assessment reports from the last three years

  5. Faculty (max 3 pages)

    1. Teaching workload (courses, labs, enrollments) over the past four to five years

    2. Other areas of faculty workload pertinent to this review, e.g., research publications, grant funding, supervision of research groups and students, faculty and student accomplishments, advising, additional service undertaken as a member of a marginalized group, service on committees, leadership in research and service activities

    3. Tenure and promotion criteria and processes

    4. Hiring plans for additional or replacement faculty members, e.g., strategy for getting a search approved, diversity aspirations, area of emphasis, recruiting plan, start-up funds

  6. Budgets (max 4 pages)

    1. Amounts in major departmental budget categories, e.g., non-salary operating budget, instructional laboratory budget

    2. Other institutional sources of funding, e.g., summer fellowships, conference travel, grant incentive funds, gifts, endowment income

    3. Trends over the past five to seven years

  7. Description of physical spaces and equipment (max 3 pages)

    1. Overview of fit of existing space and equipment to departmental mission, with attention to goals related to teaching, student collaboration, and research opportunities

    2. Prioritized list of space and equipment needs

  8. Faculty CVs (max 2 pages per person)

    1. Include grants and publications (indicate student collaborators) in the past five years

    2. Schedule of sabbaticals taken and outcomes

  9. Other departmental documents and information, e.g., bylaws, recipients of departmental scholarships and awards and their demographics