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Program of Visiting Committees for Review of Academic Departments Haverford College

For over two decades, Haverford has had in place a program to review the activities of academic departments by committees of experts from outside the college. These committees are known as “Visiting Committees.”  When there is a counterpart department at Bryn Mawr, the review is conducted jointly with Bryn Mawr College (with either Haverford or Bryn Mawr acting as coordinator of the visit), and the departments on both campuses are visited simultaneously.  Reviews of bi-college departments are also conducted jointly.

 Visiting Committees will examine the total program of a given department with the purpose of helping the department make a more effective contribution to the life of the College.  In addition, Visiting Committees will be interested in the professional activities of faculty within a department for the same purpose.  Additional, specific charges to the Committees may be framed by the administration, sometimes with input from the Educational Policy Committee (EPC) and the Committee on Academic Priorities (CAP).

Visiting Committees will base their work first on a written self-study by the department reviewed.  Such a study should include long and short-run goals of the departmental program, the role of the research of departmental members, the disposition and resources of the department, plans, ideals, suggestions for improvements, etc.

Committee members will be drawn from outside the College.  Suggestions for membership of Visiting Committees will be solicited from the department reviewed and the counterpart department at Bryn Mawr (if any).  Suggestions may also be solicited from related departments and from EPC.  However, membership will not necessarily be confined to names suggested.

Visiting Committees will be asked to meet two or three times on campus alone, and also with members of the department reviewed, with counterpart Bryn Mawr departments (if the review itself is not Bi-College), with members of the administrations, and with students. On occasion, meetings may also be arranged with other departments engaged in allied programs and with members of EPC.

Reviews should take less than three months to complete.  A comprehensive written report with suggestions for the future will be expected.  This report will be available to the department and to the President and Provost.  It may also be shared with EPC and CAP.

Departments to be reviewed will be chosen by the President, in consultation with the Provost, who may also wish to solicit advice from EPC.  The department(s) will be asked for their advice on the timing of the reviews.

A report of the review will be sent to the department.  The department is to provide the Provost with a written response to the reviewer's report, which may be shared with CAP and EPC.

David Dawson, Provost

August 2002