Office of Assessment and Accreditation

Academic Planning and Improvement

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Contact Holly Evers.

Download full APIP Framework (PDF)

The purpose of the Academic Planning & Continuous Improvement Process is to ensure the rigor, relevance, and viability of St. Cloud State University’s academic program portfolio through coordinated planning and continuous improvement via data-driven strategic analysis and management. The process will allow the University to make strategic choices about resource allocation and report on outcomes and achievements to our external constituents.

Outcomes, Guiding Principles, Alignment


  • Align our academic strategies and program portfolio with St. Cloud State’s mission and current strategic plan
  • Provide a framework for planning and quality improvement at the university, college/school and department/program levels that links strategic and annual planning and budgeting with assessment, program review and accreditation self-study
  • Position St. Cloud State’s colleges and schools so they can respond quickly to new opportunities and provide a clear direction for future initiatives
  • Identify new/updated program opportunities to respond to changes in workforce demand, student need, and/or enrollment fluctuations
  • Demonstrate accountability to SCSU’s stakeholders through purposeful measurement and reporting

Guiding Principles

The Academic Planning & Continuous Improvement Process should:

  1. Be comprehensive and fully transparent
  2. Involve faculty and staff
  3. Use data-driven and evidence-based decision making in conjunction with discipline-specific knowledge
  4. Support future growth that is responsive to student and external needs and demands
  5. Be implemented regularly and integrated with our planning and resource distribution processes

Alignment with Higher Learning Commission

St. Cloud State University’s Academic Planning & Continuous Quality Improvement Process is designed to support successful alignment with the criteria and expectation of the Higher Learning Commission, SCSU’s regional accreditor.

HLC Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

Core Component 4.A: The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs

4.A.1: The institution maintains a practice of regular program reviews.

Consistent with the HLC’s Pathway process, the Academic Planning & Continuous Quality Improvement Process will contain both a quality assurance component and a continuous improvement component. The Program Review self-study and report aligns with the HLC’s Assurance Process, including the expectation of evidence from assessment and evaluation, to support the arguments made in the self-study. The annual planning and reporting cycle supports the HLC’s Improvement Process, including the articulation of improvement initiatives in the annual planning documents, as identified through the assessment and evaluation.

Alignment with Minnesota State Board Policy

The 5-year Academic Program Review process is designed to comply with Minnesota State Board of Trustees Policy 3.36, which states:

Part 8. Academic Review. Each system college and university shall regularly review its academic programs for the purpose of academic planning and improvement. The chancellor may conduct statewide or regional reviews of academic programs or program clusters, report findings to the board and, when necessary, impose conditions on academic programs.


  1. “Department/program” for this work is defined by the dean
  2. Department/program makes recommendations to the dean; Dean makes recommendations to the provost; Provost makes recommendations to the president; President approves the college/school portfolio