Site Visit Info and Support

Site Visit Overview

The site visit is a critical component of the academic program review process. The visit allows the external reviewers the opportunity to place the information they obtained from the Self-study report in context and to meet with administration, faculty, and students of the university and the unit under review. The committee that visits campus usually consists of two to three external reviewers, who are experts in the discipline of the unit undergoing review and one to two internal reviewers, who are Kent State University faculty representatives.  

External Reviewers
The two to three external reviewers consist of distinguished colleagues from other institutions who have attained the rank of full professor and have expertise in relevant fields within the discipline at highly regarded peer and/or aspirant programs/institutions. The unit under review is asked to prepare a list of ten or more potential external reviewers and submit it to the Office of Accreditation, Assessment and Learning (AAL) by April 30. The staff of AAL will supplement the list of potential external reviewers provided by the program with additional suitable candidates if needed and will vet the potential external reviewer candidates for any potential conflicts of interest that could influence their judgment.  

Internal Reviewer
The internal reviewer(s) of the review committee will be a full professor not affiliated with the program under review. The internal reviewer(s) is included to provide institutional and college context, and thus should be a faculty member from within the same college as the program under review, but should not be from the same department/school as that of the program under review. The exception to this is when all programs across an entire college are reviewed collectively (such as the College of Nursing or the College of Public Health). In that case, the internal reviewer must be selected from a different college. The dean of the college housing the unit under review is asked to recommend potential internal reviewer(s).

Scheduling

In close collaboration with the unit being reviewed, AAL will determine the dates of the site visit and will assist with scheduling meetings that include the college Dean and the Provost Office. The unit under review is responsible for determining the duration, time, and meeting places of all other required meetings.

Site Visit Requirements

While AAL staff will coordinate travel and lodging arrangements for the external committee, the unit is responsible to build an itinerary incorporating the following meeting requirements. These meetings can take the form of one-on-one or small group meetings as deemed appropriate (if small group meetings are held, please do not schedule over meals or in noisy environments). 

  • A meeting between the reviewers and both undergraduate and graduate students without faculty present.
  • A meeting between reviewers and non-tenure track faculty without tenure track faculty present.
  • Opportunities to meet with the chair, graduate coordinator, and undergraduate coordinator.
  • A meeting between reviewers and the unit’s administrative or program support staff.
  •  A tour of the facilities.
  • Time during the visit for the reviewers to work on the report or to devise a strategy to complete the report.
  • Opportunities to meet with the college Dean and the Provost or a representative. (AAL will assist).

To use as a guide/example, see the sample itinerary below. While the itinerary must contain the requirements listed above, the unit has an opportunity to display their program(s) as they see fit. If there are any requests for exceptions to the above list, please contact AAL.

Funding

The initial funds used to cover the cost of travel, accommodations, expenses, and the honorarium will be run through AAL. At the end of the current semester AAL will send out an statement documenting all charges incurred during the review and initiate an Inter-Departmental Charge (IDC) which will reverse the funds back to AAL and charge the cost of review to the college that houses the unit reviewed. At that time, the college will determine if any additional steps are needed to disperse the cost.    

Scope, Charge and Reporting

Site visits generally are conducted over a three-day period. Day one consists of travel to Kent, OH with an opening dinner that evening. Day two is filled with scheduled meetings and work time. Day three has meetings scheduled for the morning, with a final exit interview immediately following lunch and then return travel home.

The intent of site visit meetings is to provide the reviewers the opportunity to discuss the overall atmosphere, practices, strengths, and challenges candidly and openly with different groups and constituents within the program and university. From these meetings, the review committee will generate a written report to be submitted within four weeks of the site visit. The external reviewers are responsible for writing a final report, although the internal reviewer may be asked to provide information and/or clarification. 

The report should include an Executive Summary (one to two pages) that briefly outlines the committee findings (program strengths, challenges/opportunities and recommendations) and a more in depth narrative of the program (eight to ten pages).  The narrative should be evaluative rather than descriptive, and should be forward-looking, not simply an assessment of the program’s current status. The Review Committee Report Guide listed below can act as a guide in preparing for the site visit and for developing the final report.