University of Vermont

Administrative Unit Review

Components of Administrative Unit Review

External Reviewer Identification and Visit

At least two outside experts are asked to visit the unit, with the visit generally occurring in the winter or spring. The expertise and dedication of external reviewers is a core strength of the program review process.

During the late Spring/early Summer, the members of the unit are asked to recommend individuals who are outside experts to serve as external reviewers. These individuals should be the leaders in their field, who represent the best programs in the field, from highly reputable institutions. Units may also identify reviewers by their areas of expertise and ask that the team be comprised of a reviewer from each group to ensure coverage of sub-fields within the unit. Units are encouraged to submit this list promptly, since it will enable the Vice President for Executive Operations to issue invitations to reviewers more quickly, thereby increasing the likelihood that, working with the Provost and Senior Vice President, will agree to serve.

The list of potential external reviewers nominated by the unit is reviewed by senior and area administrators to ensure that there is consensus on the appropriateness of these individuals to serve as reviewers. Final selection of reviewers is the responsibility of the Provost and Senior Vice President. Individuals are invited to serve as reviewers by the Vice President for Executive Operations. The Vice President for Executive Operations makes all arrangements for the external reviewers. In preparation for their visit, the reviewers receive and are asked to study the unit self-study report and the procedures for program review.

The external reviewers generally visit during the fall semester of the review year and meet with the unit staff, the Administrative Unit Review Council, the respective AURC subcommittee, line administration involved (unit manager or appropriate vice president(s)/provost, Provost, and President), and others appropriate to the review. Whenever possible, the meetings with central administration officers are consolidated into a single session to permit more time for unit interaction with the external reviewers. The external reviewers should have the opportunity to meet with individual staff during their visit on campus. The visit is usually about two days in length but can be extended for particular needs. The opportunity for more unstructured interaction time with the unit at the end of the visit is encouraged.

Within fourteen days of the visit, each external reviewer is asked to provide a written assessment of the strengths, weaknesses, personnel, leadership, and opportunities for the unit to the Vice President for Executive Operations. A joint report, written by both (or all, if there are more than two) reviewers, is also acceptable. If individual reviewer reports are submitted, a composite report is constructed by the Vice President for Executive Operations that contains the full text of each of the external reviewers’ reports. This provides the reviewers with a measure of confidentiality. Also, the composite report excludes any comments about individuals; these may take the form of a confidential addendum to the report. A copy of the composite (or joint) report is provided to the Administrative Unit Review Council, the vice president/provost, and the unit. These reports ultimately are distributed to the AURC subcommittee, the President, and the Provost, and along with the AURC report.

Last modified January 15 2015 02:39 PM