Common Searches

Five-Year Guidelines: Academic Centers

5-year Review Self-Study Format - Academic Center

Click on title for PDF


The self-study represents a current snapshot of a center, as well as a roadmap for where it has been and where it plans to go. Self-study documents should be written so that they are sufficiently comprehensive for an external expert in the field, as well as accessible to the internal team who is comprised of members outside the field. Putting together this document should involve all members of a center and not be done at the last minute. Ideally a center will start constructing their self-study the semester before the 5-year review and use the time to construct a well-organized and fully developed document.


Described below are the required core criteria for the self-study of a center. Each center is free to adjust the organization based on what flows best for them, but please be sure to address each area for a complete and cohesive review. The final document should be clear, reflective, and concise. It is recommended to use headings, page numbers, and appendices where needed, and also include a table of contents, so your reviewers can easily locate sections of the report. Reports should be a maximum of 25-30 pages, excluding appendices.



  1. Executive Summary
    1. Provide a brief summary of the full self-study (1-2 pages) including the current strategic direction of the center, any significant changes since the last 5-year review, and summarized plans for the future


  1. Center Profile
    1. Provide a brief overview of the center’s history over the past 5 years, as well as its original purpose
    2. List the center’s structure, faculty, staff, and facilities
    3. Discuss any interdisciplinary relationships you have on campus


  • Response to Previous Program Review
    1. This section should briefly address the Unit Response to the last five-year review and the action steps taken over the past five years. The purpose of including this section is to address any outstanding issues and acknowledge the work completed since the prior review and its impact on the center
      1. For some centers, this may be best incorporated into the above center profile as you discuss the history of the center and any significant changes over the past five years
      2. For other centers it may be useful to write a brief paragraph here and create a table detailing the recommendations, the status of those recommendations, and the impact of those incorporated changes and include that table in the appendices


  1. Strategic Direction
    1. Detail how the mission of the center helps to support UMSL’s mission and current strategic plan
      1. How are faculty planning the program’s strategic goals for the next five years and ways to meet them? What metrics are used and how will those goals be assessed annually?
    2. Assess the quality of the center by identifying peer and aspirant peer programs. Describe what distinguishes this center from its peers nationally.
      1. Things to consider: How do the center’s research, creative works, and scholarship compare to peer programs? How does the center gauge performance?
    3. What new initiatives will you undertake within the next five years?
    4. What services/programs have you identified as the most strategic and what have you done to promote success in those areas?
      1. What changes have you made as a result of assessment?
    5. Describe how you expect the center to change over the next five years.
      1. Given constant resources, what are the strategic plans to enhance the quality and stature of the center for the future?
      2. What is the financial outlook for the center over the next five years?
  • If there was an opportunity for increased funding how would that be used and what would the anticipated outcomes be from that investment?


  1. Campus Connection & Research
    1. How do the center’s initiatives contribute to student learning?
    2. What are the associated presentations, workshops, symposia, etc. that the center has conducted over the past 5 years? How do they support and connect to the campus? To the larger community?
    3. What proposals or awards have you received since your last review?
      1. Include amount requested and funded
        1. List PIs and Co-PIs
      2. What financial support have you received from the university since your last review? How was the support used?
      3. What university structures or processes promote or hinder the Center in meeting its goals?
      4. How would resources be invested in the event of increased funding? What would the anticipated outcomes of that support be?
      5. What services/programs would be reduced or eliminated in the event of decreased funding?
  1. Community Engagement & Service
    1. Describe how faculty and staff engage with the broader public, and any efforts you have to support those activities.
      1. How do you track and recognize faculty public engagement efforts?
    2. Describe any efforts to help students to identify public engagement opportunities—such as service learning and internships—that serve their educational goals
    3. List and describe major extension and other outreach programs (i.e., interactions with off-campus audiences including corporate contacts). Include program evaluation data or other indicators of impact when available.
      1. How are outreach and extension responsibilities distributed among faculty of different ranks?
      2. What are the conclusions from the analyses and what changes, if any, to outreach and extension is the center considering in response to this analysis?
  2. Appendices
    1. Notes on Preparation of the Document
      1. Briefly describe the process used to complete the self-study, including a list of who was responsible for the content of the final report and how faculty was engaged to provide feedback.
    2. Faculty Curriculum Vitae
    3. Previous 5-year review
      1. Include a table that summarizes any recommended actions, whether the action was taken, and whether any changes were considered to be successful.
    4. Center’s Strategic Plan, if available
    5. Center’s Annual Reviews for the last two years, if available