Review Committees

An ad hoc review committee will be appointed by the Provost for each unit to be reviewed.  Each review committee is charged with conducting a comprehensive review of a specific academic unit and preparing a report for transmission to the Provost.

Review committees will consist of one or more senior members of the BU faculty (the internal member), three or more external consultants who are distinguished faculty members with disciplinary expertise at other institutions (external members), and one member of the BU Board of Overseers (Overseer member).  The number of internal and external reviewers will be determined in part by the breadth of the unit’s scholarly focus, including its interdisciplinary breadth and methodological diversity and the background and training of the reviewers.  The standard composition and size of the review committee is five members: one internal member, three external members, and one Overseer member.

The internal member will be invited to serve on the review team by the Office of the Provost, and is recommended by members of the CAPR.  The unit leadership and dean(s) will have the opportunity to vet candidates for the internal member before he or she is invited to serve.  No member of the program under review may serve in this role, including faculty with joint appointments and faculty with courtesy appointments.  The internal member should not be currently teaching or working on a collaborative project with a member of the faculty from the unit under review.

As part of preparation of the agreement on the scope of review, the leader of the unit to be reviewed and the appropriate dean(s) will provide input on the desired expertise represented by the external reviewers, but should not provide recommendations of specific individuals.  The Office of the Provost will identify external candidates for service on the review committee, based on the established criteria, in consultation with the internal member.

The unit leadership and dean(s) will have the opportunity to review the list of potential external reviewers, consult with the unit’s faculty, and may strike individuals whose participation would constitute a clear conflict of interest.  Striking names from the list should only be done with clear cause and valid reasons for exclusions must be provided.  Neither unit leadership nor the dean(s) should approach potential review committee members in advance.  The Office of the Provost will invite external members to participate in the review and will determine the final composition of the review committee.  Based on the availability of reviewers and the appropriate timing for the unit under review, the Office of the Provost will confirm the site-visit period.

External reviewers should have sufficient independence from Boston University faculty and should represent a balance of faculty in administrative and non-administrative positions.  External candidates with the following potential conflicts of interest should be excluded from serving on the review committee:

  • Individuals that have now, or in the past five years, had a close collaborative relationship with a faculty member of the unit under review;
  • Individuals with a prior faculty appointment in the unit under review during the past ten years, or individuals with a Boston University credential;
  • Individuals associated with an organization or corporation that may benefit financially from a research project that includes a faculty member from the unit under review;
  • Individuals associated with a corporation that currently sponsors research projects involving a faculty member from the unit under review; and/ or,
  • Individuals associated with an organization or corporation in which a faculty member from the unit under review is currently a member of the board, a consultant, or has similar conflicts of commitment.

Members of the BU Board of Overseers participate in each academic program review committee.  Their role is to participate in various points of the review process, including the entire site visit, and report back to the full Board as well as the Academic Affairs Committee of the Board of Trustees.  While primarily serving in an observer capacity, the participation of the Overseers offers insights and perspectives useful to the improvement of our academic units.

Guidelines on the role and responsibilities of review committees: Appendix 4.