Step 1 - Selecting Reviewers

External Reviewer Identification and Selection

The Department Head and Dean are notified of the scheduled program review one year before the external review team visits campus. Once the Department Head receives notification, the program will clearly identify the area(s) and/or subfield(s) to be represented by the external review team in order to provide an applicable review of the program(s) – e.g., undergraduate and/or graduate programs, research or creative activity, and service. The Department Head gives this Information to the Dean in September.

During October the program and the Dean independently develop lists of potential reviewers, share the lists with one another, and justify any objections on the other’s list. Reviewers must meet the following criteria:

Criteria: Evidenced by Items such as:
1. Demonstrated expertise in the program’s discipline or subfield.
  • A consistent and current record of research or creative activity that is similar to or exceeds the department’s standards for promotion.

  • Active participation in primary associations and professional organizations recognized by the discipline. 

2. Demonstrated experience related to the type of the program (undergraduate, graduate) and institution.
  • Status as a full professor, as a distinguished associate professor, or as a junior faculty with special expertise at a comparable program and institution.

  • Option: Depending on the nature of the program a professional expert may be included as a 3rd reviewer (EVCAA approval required).

3. Ability to provide an objective review.
  • No conflicts of interests*.

  • Based on the nature of the program being reviewed, reviewers employed by institutions and programs considered direct competitors may not be considered.

4. Has not previously served as an external reviewer for the program at UMD.
  • UMD records.


The Dean submits both lists with comments to the EVCAA in November. If CVs for the reviewers are not readily available, information from their institution's website or other sources is sufficient to include with the lists.

During December, the EVCAA provides comments to guide formation of a team that is a balance of both lists and represents a level of diversity that is appropriate for the program in terms of gender and ethnicity/race. The standard team is comprised of two external reviewers. However, team size may be adjusted based on the number and types of programs reviewed in the same team visit.

During the spring semester of the review preparation year, the Dean’s office contacts the selected reviewers and invites them to serve on the external review team. The Dean’s office also works with the reviewers to identify the team chair, set the review dates, and distribute materials when they are ready. 

The program faculty are not to contact any external reviewer recommended or selected before the visit regarding the program or the review, but they are expected to participate in the team’s visit. The Dean’s office and Department Head are responsible for determining who will coordinate and arrange for the the team’s transportation. 

*Conflicts of Interest:  Actual, potential, or perceived conflicts of interest may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Within the past ten years, employment, enrollment as a student, or other service in any capacity by UMD or its programs.

  • Within the past three years, employment, enrollment as a student, or other service in any capacity by an institution within the University of Minnesota System.

  • Within the past year, employment, enrollment as a student, or other service in any capacity by an institution that is a competitor of the program under review or that may otherwise have a material interest in the outcome of the actions regarding the program under review.

  • Within the past three years, employment, enrollment as a student, or other service capacity and direct involvement in the development, direct oversight, and continuing direct management of joint programs or other collaborative educational activities at an institution in cooperation with the institution under review.

  • Within the past year, having been a candidate for employment in any capacity or having applied for enrollment as a student at UMD.

  • Having an immediate family member(s) who is (are) a current employee(s), board member(s), candidate(s) for employment or admission to a degree program, or student(s) enrolled in a degree program, at UMD.

  • Being an alumna or alumnus of UMD.

  • Having hosted a peer review team for a program at the person’s institution that included a member of the UMD’s program. 


  • “Employment” includes any engagement by the institution, including consulting or contractual services, whether or not compensated by the institution itself.
  • “Enrollment” includes any academic involvement whether or not for credit or leading to an academic credential of any kind.
  • “Other service” includes, but is not limited to, serving as a board member, advisor, member of an advisory board or committee.
  • “Immediate family members” include spouses, siblings, children, grandchildren, parents, grandparents, and domestic partners.