Cleveland State University

Office of Academic Planning

Selecting External Consultants

External Consultant’s Role

The external consultant’s role is to serve as a content expert in the discipline being reviewed. The other committee members look to the external consultant for information about current trends in the discipline and opportunities for external funding. They also count on the external consultant to provide the following key information:

  • how the program under review compares to programs in other universities that have a similar mission, demographic profile, and funding structure
  • a critique of how the program compares to others that have reached a higher level of excellence, i.e. aspirational peers

The external consultant provides a written report to the committee but is not a voting member of the committee.

One external consultant will be selected for units with programs without any external accreditation. Two external consultants will be selected for units with doctoral or other programs with sufficient diversity in their specialized offerings.

Selecting External Consultants

The Dean of a college shall consult with department faculty members and the chair/director of the unit being reviewed. The faculty members will identify a list of four candidates, ranked in the order of preference, who would be appropriate to serve as an external consultant for the unit. The list should be submitted to the chair/director who may wish to add additional comments before forwarding the list of candidates to the Dean of the College.

The following information is required for each external consultant nominated by the department undergoing review:

  1. Name, address, phone number, email address, and web site URL, if a web site is available
  2. A brief description (two to three sentences) noting how the reviewer was selected for recommendation by the department
  3. The reason why each recommended reviewer represents a “good-fit” in reviewing the CSU department or program
    1. For example, does the nominated individual have experience with units similar to CSU’s in scope and size?
    2. Does the person have a background in developing or overseeing a department with the same mix of graduate and undergraduate programs offered in the department?
    3. Or, perhaps the reviewer has a background in an area in which a CSU department wants to grow, and the reason for nominating him or her is that the reviewer will provide expertise needed for moving the department to the next level of excellence.
  4. A notation of any prior professional or personal relationships that department members have with the individual being nominated
  5. A statement as to whether the nominated external consultant may be in a position of competing with the department (or any potential conflict of interest) which would disqualify him or her from serving as a consultant
  6. A vita for each individual nominated

Submitting Nominations

Names of external consultant candidates should be submitted on the nomination table template by the College Dean to the Office of Academic Planning by mid-October. The required information listed above should be submitted electronically along with the nomination table.

The Program Review Committee will vote to select the external consultant and will submit the name and contact information to the Vice Provost for Academic Planning, who will then issue a letter of invitation to the external consultant and confirm acceptance and availability.

Return to Program Review website.
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Mailing Address
Office of Academic Planning
Cleveland State University
2121 Euclid Avenue, AC220
Cleveland, OH 44115-2214
Campus Location
Parker Hannifin Admin. Center 220
2300 Euclid Avenue

Phone: 216.687.5324
FAX: 216.687.5372

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