External reviews are valuable assessment tools that can help shape the content and objectives of an academic program.  In addition to satisfying a provision for SACS accreditation, these reviews should be viewed as an opportunity to develop independent opinions about a department’s program.  They may be tailored to address specific programmatic concerns or assist in developing new initiatives that might benefit from a third-party evaluation.  Below are guidelines for arranging external reviews.
  1. External reviews are scheduled in nine-year cycles unless otherwise dictated by an accrediting agency or arrangements with the Dean of the Faculty (see schedule).  Confirmation and planning of an external review should begin in the academic year prior to the review.
  2. Any materials prepared in advance for the external review should be shared with the Dean.
  3. To minimize expenses, campus visits should not exceed two evenings of lodging for the reviewers.  The budget does not allow for Furman faculty to attend meals with the reviewers. (Often this is the time reviewers use to collaborate in private.)
  4. Two reviewers may be selected for this assignment.  They should be highly qualified individuals that meet with the approval of the department and the Dean.
  5. The Office of Academic Affairs requires the following limits on expenses:
    1. Honoraria for two external reviewers are limited to $1400 total unless other arrangements have been made with the Dean.  This includes a written report.
    2. Two nights lodging at $100/night for each reviewer.
    3. Two days of meals (6 meals) at $50/day for each reviewer.
    4. All transportation expenses.  These arrangements should be made by the reviewer within the department’s time frame.  Reviewers will be reimbursed for this expense after they provide appropriate receipts and documentation.
    5. Total expenses for an external review should not exceed $3000.
    6. Exceptions to any of these limitations must be approved by the Dean.
  6. The Dean must meet with the reviewers at sometime during the campus visit. 
A department should submit to the Dean a written response to the external reviewers’ report.  This allows the administration to put into context the department’s position and shapes the priorities resulting from the review.

Click here for the External Review Cycle

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