University of Vermont

Administrative Unit Review

Components of Administrative Unit Review

Unit Self-Study

The unit self-study report is one of the most important and valuable aspects of the program review process. The self-study phase of program review represents a valuable opportunity for the unit to make a candid assessment of itself and to consider future directions and options that would strengthen it. This process is useful for planning within the unit, leading to choices about focus and strategies for the department.

Each unit is asked to prepare a unit self-study report to be submitted to the Administrative Unit Review Council by no later than mid-December.  The primary purpose of the unit self-study report should be: to address the identified issues; to focus upon program strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, as judged against the University mission; and, to define ways, primarily within existing resources, that the program should improve. It must be reiterated that, while the need for additional resources may be identified, the document should not be regarded as a means by which a unit should expect to persuade colleagues or the administration to reallocate resources to the unit. The self-study should, however, address appropriate areas where resources should be reallocated within the unit.

Units should identify changes that have occurred more generally in the unit or the field over the last several years, as well as any new or impending relevant developments and how those developments affect the plans and directions of the unit. The report provides a fresh examination of the unit and should be a document that directly addresses the issues identified by the unit, the vice president/provost, and the President’s Senior Leadership.

The report should include, as appendices, data on key performance measures through which a unit’s success in meeting its goals can be ascertained. These measures are essential to objectively evaluating a unit’s performance, but in many cases they do not exist, or the data are incomplete. The University is asking that all units have such measures, not only for administrative review but also to inform other University processes (e.g., budget, strategic planning, etc.). Units should work closely with their vice president/provost in the development of these measures.

Whatever process is used to prepare the report, the report should be shared with members of the unit and should represent a consensus. The process used to write the self-study and those who participated in it should be noted in the self-study. In general, the length of the unit self-study report should be no more than fifteen pages (exclusive of appendices) unless major new issues have been identified, in which case a twenty-five-page limit will be enforced. The complete report (including appendices) should be submitted electronically to the Vice President for Executive Operations. (See Appendix B for further information.)

The unit self-study report will be reviewed by the Vice President for Executive Operations and the AURC subcommittee to ensure it is complete. Incomplete reports will be returned to the unit with explicit feedback on how the report is to be revised. The report does not become a public document, but is made available to the AURC subcommittee, the Administrative Unit Review Council, the external reviewers, and relevant administrative officers (defined as the President and the vice president(s)/provost with line or related responsibility for the unit reviewed.) A single, unbound copy and an electronic copy of the unit self-study report (including appendices) are to be provided to the Vice President for Executive Operations in accordance with the schedule provided in the letter of notification to the unit. If the electronic copy is submitted in PDF format, an additional electronic copy in Microsoft Word should also be submitted. The Vice President for Executive Operations is responsible for the distribution of the unit self-study report to the appropriate individuals.

Last modified January 16 2015 08:42 AM