Building Strong Geoscience Departments > Program Assessment & Review

Program Assessment & Review

These webpages were written by Carol Ormand, based in part on ideas compiled from the 2009 workshop on Assessing Geoscience Programs.

How do you know whether your geoscience program is working, or which parts are working best and which could be more effective? With so many demands on your time and energy, you want to be sure that the time and energy you put into your program is achieving your departmental goals. Assess your program elements, so that you can maximize the return on your investments.

Developing an Assessment Plan

Just as an effective research program grows from a carefully thought out research plan, an effective assessment process begins with effective planning. What is your program trying to achieve, and how will you know if it is successful? What data do you need to collect to measure your success? How will you collect those data? Browse our collection of assessment planning documents from other geoscience programs and other resources on planning your program assessment.

Program Metrics & Instruments

When you have articulated the goals and objectives of your program, it's time to think about how, exactly, you will measure your success. For this, you'll need to develop an instrument or group of instruments for collecting the necessary data. Our collection of assessment instruments from other geoscience programs, and other resources, can save you the work of reinventing the wheel.


Accreditation is a complicated issue with many pros and cons. We invite you to participate in a community discussion of this topic, educate yourself about accreditation in related disciplines, and read the results of a 2008 survey of geoscience professionals.

General Resources

References and Additional Readings

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