AQAD - Accreditation and Program Review
The Academic Quality Assessment and Development (AQAD) process is a component of the UMass System’s Performance Measurement System and is required of all academic units. The primary purpose of the AQAD is to assess the core academic functions of teaching, learning, research/professional/creative activity, public service, and academic outreach on a regular basis. The Office of the Provost manages the AQAD process at UMass Amherst and maintains AQAD procedures and the department and program review schedule.
How Can an AQAD Help Me?
An AQAD is a tool that you can use to guide the pedagogical development and intellectual future of your department or program. It is an opportunity to assess your current state and ensure that you have clear strategic goals in teaching, research, and creative activity that are in tune with campus priorities and at the leading edge of your discipline. Although all AQADs must address the same general core criteria using the same general procedures, both the content and process may with the approval of the dean and provost be adjusted somewhat to suit a particular unit’s needs.
How Often Do Reviews Occur?
AQAD guidelines require that programs be reviewed at least every seven years, but UMass Amherst has approval for some variances in order to match external review (e.g., accreditation) schedules.
Many of the university’s academic programs receive accreditation from disciplinary or professional organizations that set standards for educational programs in the field. For those programs, the accreditation self-study and review committee visit are used for the purposes of the program’s AQAD as well. In these cases, the guidelines of the accrediting body take precedence in the process; however, if any of the AQAD core criteria are not covered in the self-study provided to the accrediting body, the program attaches an AQAD supplement addressing them. University Analytics and Institutional Research maintains a list of campus programs receiving disciplinary accreditation.
Data Sources for the AQAD Self-Assessment
Institutional data to address the core criteria for your AQAD self-study are available through University Analytics and Institutional Research and the Office of Academic Planning and Assessment. The Strategic Planning/Unit Planning process (Annual Budget Process) also furnishes departments with a wealth of data for examination and analysis.