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Program Review

Driving a Culture of Continuous Improvement

About Program Review

Program Review at Northwestern University began in 1985 as a faculty initiative to achieve and maintain the highest standards of excellence within all academic and administrative units of the University. For over 30 years, Program Review has encouraged strategic planning and continuous improvement across Northwestern. 

All of the University’s academic departments, major research centers, and administrative units are reviewed once every seven to ten years through the Program Review process.  The process includes a unit self-assessment, external and internal review, and an implementation agreement plan that outlines actions to be taken following the review. As part of the process, an external review team of experts in the field from exemplary peer institutions, joined by an internal review team of senior Northwestern faculty and/or staff, assesses the unit and provides recommendations for improvement. 

Program Review is administered by the Office of the Vice President for Administration and Planning with oversight from the Program Review Council, a rotating committee of senior faculty and administrators. The Office of Institutional Research provides assistance with data components of the process.


Quick Links


  • A more in-depth history of Program Review and its processes. 
  • Are you interested in how Northwestern conducts
    Program Review? Click here for more information.             
  • A useful resource guide for the Program Review Council
    and internal reviewers.
  • Are you a new member of the Program Review Council,
    or being asked to serve as an internal reviewer? Click here for more information.                                                                
  • A useful resource guide for external reviewers visiting
    Northwestern for Program Review. 
  • Have you been invited to serve as an external reviewer
    in the Program Review process? Click here for more information.