Your  Account:

Continuous Improvement

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Under direction from the Student Affairs Planning, Assessment, and Professional Development (PAPD) Office, the Division is starting year one of our Continuous Improvement departmental program review process. Founded on the CAS Professional Standards for Higher Education and tailored for our unique divisional culture, the program allows each department the opportunity for continuous improvement in a resourceful and effective manner, while remaining rigorous and standards-driven. It enables each department to analyze and enhance one structural, programmatic, or service element each year through an efficient and flexible process tailored to the CSUSM Student Affairs’ culture and in alignment with the requirements of our regional accreditor, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).


The Student Affairs’ Continuous Improvement program review process runs on a six-year cycle. On an annual basis, each department thoroughly assesses one element of their overall operations. These elements are based upon the Council for Advancement of Standards (CAS) guidelines for program review. CAS Self-Assessment guides will be provided as an additional resource for departmental assessment.

Six-Year Cycle by Year
Year Review Element Components

Year One

Business Functions
  • Mission, Vision, and Values
  • Compliance
  • Internal Policies and Guidelines
  • Organizational Structure
  • Financial Resources
  • Promotional
  • Workload & Compensation

Year Two

Workplace Environment

  • Workplace Culture
  • Internal and External Relationships
  • Development/Recognition
  • Onboarding
  • Ethics
  • Equity, Diversity, and Access
  • Facilities and Technology

Years 3-5


 Departments choose a co-curricular or service-based program to review.

Year Six


The meta-review summarizes the findings from the five preceding annual reviews, explores any overarching themes that might have been identified, and provides updates on prior year’s action plans as appropriate. This process is intended to provide a period of reflection for the department and an opportunity to conduct a comprehensive scan of all their functional areas in a holistic manner. 


This process relates directly to your annual strategic plan update and the information for both processes will be reported together (see linked report form below). Please review the Program Review and Strategic Planning Diagram for clarification of the relationship between these two processes.



  • Review the program review proposal section of the Annual Strategic Plan and Program Review Report.
    • Identify area of focus (based on six-year cycle above).
    • Review the components included.
    • Select committee members (see guide) and schedule meetings.
    • Determine which external benchmarks you intend to use.

 August 15th | REPORT DUE

  • Submit your program review proposal section of the Annual Strategic Plan and Program Review Report.
    • PAPD will plan a check-in meeting with your review committee chair and provide the CAS Self-Assessment Guide appropriate for your area.


  • Meet regularly as a committee to review the components for the current year.
    • Review the summative report section of the Annual Strategic Plan and Program Review Report to guide your review process.
    • Review the CAS Self-Assessment Guide (provided by PAPD upon submission of your proposal) related to the component in question to assess your department’s performance using their rubric.
    • Review external benchmarking information to further assist in your performance assessment.
    • Identify strengths and areas of improvement for your department.
    • Create actions items and tentative timelines for each.


  • PAPD will reach out for a status check-in.
    • Be prepared to discuss your progress and how what you have learned so far will inform your strategic plan update for the coming year.


July 15th | REPORT DUE

  • WASC Compliance Information

    WASC Info

    The review process is cyclical (5–8 years).

    It is required that administrative, human resource, and programmatic/service functions be reviewed every 6 years.

    The review process follows a regularly scheduled timeline to drive continuous enhancement of program quality.

    The timeline is well structured, and the focus of all components are to drive continuous improvement.

    The process includes self-evaluation and peer-evaluation.

    The process uses a ‘mixternal‘ review committee (membership is comprised of internal and external reviewers) and includes alignment with professional standards.

    The review provides a comprehensive analysis of program quality.

    The review process includes a multi-faceted approach and assessment of all aspects of the chosen departmental element.

    The review includes an outcomes-based assessment of student learning and development.

    Co-curricular planning and assessment learning outcomes are required during programmatic reviews of student development departments.

    The review promotes evidence-based claims and decision-making.

    Action plans are strongly supported by qualitative and quantitative data.

    Findings should be used to inform planning and budgeting at various levels.

    Findings from program reviews will be implemented to guide decision making at a departmental and divisional level.

    Findings that are consistent in several departmental reviews should prompt an institutional review.

    PAPD will compare review results and explore similar findings at a divisional level.

    The review should align with departmental and institutional goals.

    Proposals and reporting are closely tied with the divisional strategic planning process.

    Improvement of student support systems should result from the review.

    Service improvement will be a main focus of programmatic reviews in service departments.

    The review process should result in action plans.

    Action plans and timelines are submitted as part of the outcomes form. Addendums will be added the following year showing progress and updates.

    The review process should conclude with a written report.

    The SA Annual Report will include a section devoted to the CIP process and highlighting its findings.

    Follow-up plans are established for tracking and implementation progress.

    PAPD requires a submitted timeline for implementation and will consult and check-in with departments periodically.