The role of the external reviewers is important in the program review process. Each program review includes a visit by at least two external reviewers. The external reviewers promote comparison with similar programs at other institutions, provide faculty and administrators a wider perspective, and ensure that the academic program being reviewed is current and not isolated from the larger academic community. The external reviewers prompt academic units and the university to address issues that may come to light during the program review process, and facilitate an institutional and program response to the program review.
External reviewers, as recognized experts in the disciplinary/professional field of the unit undertaking program review, are used to provide critical judgment and to ensure the objectivity of the program review process, and to determine how the program compares to other programs in the region and nation.
Reviewers should bring an informed and unbiased view to the assessment of the program. External reviewers should consider whether the plans of the department are appropriate,considering such factors as the current condition of the program, trends in the discipline, the quality of the faculty, and the characteristics of the students and the community the program serves. Reviewers will be provided with a list of issues/questions to be addressed in their report, but they are free to address other issues that arise during the course of their review.
In consultation with the academic unit, the Office of the Chancellor will select the external reviewers. Academic units may recommend the names of at least five, but no more than ten,external reviewers to the Office of the Chancellor, and provide links to website bios or CVs if available. In some cases, the Office of the Chancellor may select reviewers that have not been nominated by the academic unit.
Academic units are encouraged to nominate individuals from reputable institutions who are active, respected members of the discipline and profession, particularly in the academic programs and areas of interest of the unit undertaking program review.
Academic units should nominate reviewers who are likely to understand the issues and special circumstances of the academic unit and Chapman University, particularly those who come from or have experience in programs similar to those of the academic unit.
If the academic unit includes separate programs or areas (for example, undergraduate and graduate programs),the unit should recommend external reviewers who are most appropriate for specified programs or areas. The academic unit should take care to recommend reviewers who will provide a balance in representing the programs and areas of the unit.
The academic unit, in nominating external reviewers, should attempt to maintain a balance in gender and minority representation. The academic unit may also indicate priorities and preferences with regard to the strategic make-up of the review team, which the Chancellor's Office will take into consideration.
Academic units must disclose in writing to the Office of the Chancellor any possible, potential conflicts of interest for an external reviewer in conducting the program review, including:
Former or current mentors or friends of faculty members, faculty members or administrators who are currently employed or who have been employed at Chapman University, or who have applied for positions or are likely to apply for positions at Chapman University Faculty members or administrators from academic programs and universities in immediate competition with the programs of the academic unit and Chapman University.
Academic units should NOT contact the individuals recommended, or solicit vitae or biographical information from potential external reviewers, until the Office of the Chancellor has selected the external reviewers. Premature contact with potential external reviewers may create an awkward situation for the university and for those individuals not invited to serve as external reviewers.
The Office of the Chancellor, in selecting reviewers generally adhere to the following criteria, although in some circumstances may warrant exceptions (e.g. reviewers not from academia, bur from professional or industry settings, and reviewers from out of state in case of niche programs, etc.):
- The reviewer must have an outstanding record of current scholarship and experience in the discipline
- The reviewer must have strong institutional affiliations (we demonstrate a commitment to excellence when we are willing tobe critiqued by the very best)
- The reviewer should reside within a reasonable distance from our campus (i.e., Arizona, California) to keep our expenses down (we feel that there are plenty of world class institutions nearby)
- The reviewer should not have any conflicts of interest that might prevent a very candid and thorough evaluation