Comprehensive Program Review FAQs

Site Visit

What does the site visit entail?

The site visit consists of two consecutive business days where two to three external evaluators visit campus and meet with department faculty and staff, graduate and undergraduate students (where applicable), postdocs and clinical faculty (where applicable), the academic dean, the vice provost for academic affairs and dean of the graduate school and the provost, among others.

Who should come and evaluate my program?

The potential external evaluators should fulfill the following criteria:

  • Full Professor, preferably from a public, Research I, university.
  • Have no significant prior or present connections to the department/program.
  • Have not been the mentor or mentee of a faculty member.
  • Have not engaged in collaborative research or published with a member of the unit within the previous 10 years.
  • Should not have a significant personal or professional relationship with a unit member.

Based on this criteria, the department should compile a list of four to six potential external evaluators, including links to their CV’s and/or bio-sketches) and send them to Daniel Schweitzer ( Daniel will then have the list vetted by the appropriate deans. Upon approval or instruction, Daniel will notify the department via email.

When will the site visit happen?

The site visit dates are up to your department, with approval from the various parties involved, sometime during the assigned semester when students are on campus and all department faculty are present. See the Tentative Review Schedule for information on when your site visit should be scheduled.

Who is responsible for escorting the external evaluators when they are in Buffalo?

The department is responsible for coordinating the travel to and from the airport, hotel and campus and also for escorting the external evaluators in between meetings.

What if I want to take the external evaluators out to dinner?

The department may take the external evaluators out to dinner on one, or both, days of the review. All up-front meal costs with the external evaluators (orientation breakfast, provided lunches, dinners with the evaluators) are the responsibility of the department. OEE will work with the departmental designee to arrange access to a departmental program review account.  The designee will then work under the guidelines of existing business policies to initiate reimbursement. All reimbursements are paid in state funds: The Office of Educational Effectiveness cannot reimburse any tax or alcohol purchased during the visit.

Is there a dollar amount limit that I can spend on meals?

We recommend that all meal and hosting costs not exceed $460 (for two reviewers) or $690 (for three reviewers).

The Self-Study and Site Visit Itinerary

Is there a format that the department’s self-study should follow?

Yes, the department’s self-study should follow the self-study document template. The template contains both graduate and undergraduate content: please omit sections that do not apply to your program/department.

How long should my self-study be?

The body of your self-study should be approximately 25-40 pages. The appendices and supporting documents are not included in these page counts. However, reviewers will not go through everything. It is a good idea to keep the appendices and supporting documents focused on the items that help reinforce the story of the self-study.

When is the self-study due?

The self-study should be shared with Daniel Schweitzer ( in electronic form, no later than five weeks prior to your site visit to allow ample time for the appropriate deans to review the document and changes to be made by the department, where applicable, before sharing with the evaluation team, no later than three weeks prior to the review.

Who is responsible for the site visit itinerary?

The department is responsible for creating the site visit itinerary. There are three meetings that are scheduled by the Office of Educational Effectiveness), they are as follows:

  • Site Visit Orientation – This half-hour meeting is held on the first morning of the visit at 9:00. This meeting will be held within the department, and the department is responsible for booking the room. The attendees of this meeting are Carol Van Zile Tamsen, Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Effectiveness, and the evaluation team.
  • Exit Interview – This one-hour meeting is the last major meeting, scheduled on the second day of the site visit. This meeting generally begins at 1:00 p.m., in Capen Hall, and is scheduled by the Academic Assessment Coordinator. The attendees of this meeting are the provost, VPAA, VPUE (where applicable), Assistant VPUE, academic dean (and/or designee), cognizant associate dean, AVPEE, and the evaluation team.

In addition to the meetings scheduled by OEE, the itinerary should include the following meetings/events:

  • Meeting with the Dean/Cognizant Dean -- this is a 30-minute meeting with academic dean and cognizant dean on the first day. 
  • Meeting with the department chair and/or program director.
  • Meeting with the directors of graduate and undergraduate study (where applicable).
  • Meeting with the graduate students and undergraduate students (where applicable).
  • Meeting with the admissions committee.
  • Meeting with any subcommittees.
  • Meeting with postdoctoral scholars and/or clinical faculty (where applicable).
  • Meeting with the staff.
  • An all-faculty meeting.
  • A one-hour (minimum) time for the evaluation team to meet alone (the best time for this meeting would be directly before the exit interview on the second day of the visit).
  • A paperwork meeting with the departmental designee to ensure that all paperwork is completed for each external evaluator to allow timely payment of the $1,000 honorarium and reimbursement of travel costs.

General Program Review FAQs

How often will my program get reviewed?

Typically programs are reviewed every five to seven years.

Will my externally accredited program be reviewed?

In general, externally accredited programs are not reviewed.  Non-accredited programs housed in departments or units where most programs are accredited will still be reviewed.

Who books the hotel and the flights for the evaluation team?

The departmental designee will book the hotel for the evaluation team, using the hotel of your choice from this list. The individual traveler should book his/her own flight. The departmental designee will reimburse the individual traveler from the assigned departmental program review account for his/her flight after the site visit is over.

The site visit is over, now what happens?

Please see our CPR Process document for information on what happens following the site visit.

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