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Program Review

The Director has found that self-studies leading to external academic program reviews (APRs) are usually very helpful for Classics programs in maintaining, enhancing, or defending their institutional stature. An APR generates a self-study containing all the vital information about a program and its plans: information that is a chore to collect but that comes in very handy when the program is threatened, which usually happens suddenly. The completed APR institutionalizes an external perspective that in most cases tacks to the positive side, in no small part because our field is exceptionally solidary and maximally constructive both collegially and in upholding agreed ideals, standards, and practices, nationally as well as internationally. The colleagues on the visiting committee for a Classics APR will be maximally supportive! The internal follow-up assesses potential and priorities; develops an administrative agreement and an action plan; and articulates and locks in the program’s direction for an extended period of time, typically 8-10 years. If your program does not have a regular cycles of APRs, it is a good idea to request one.

An APR is a visit by an outside reviewer or reviewers whose task is to assess, in a written report to the administration, the strengths and weaknesses of a particular department or program. The review team is recruited and charged by the administration (dean and/or provost, sometimes also the president) from a list nominated by the program, and meets with the administration on arrival and in an exit interview. The team normally consists of two or three reviewers, but single reviewers or larger teams or committees are possible. The team normally spends two full days on campus talking with administrators, Classics faculty, students and staff, and faculty and others in other departments or programs related to Classics, along with a representative or two from unrelated programs. The main charge is to assess both the claims and challenges articulated in the self-study and any questions that the administration wishes to include, and to offer realistic, constructive advice.

CAS does not conduct or play any direct role in APRs; its role is purely advisory. A program need not consult CAS at all, but there are advantages especially for less well-established programs or programs / institutions unfamiliar with APRs. If a program is scheduled for, or asks to have an APR, it may contact the CAS Director for advice about the process, in particular the preparation of the self-study, and for suggestions about individuals who might be good reviewers. Although CAS can only suggest names, we do have considerable experience with reviewers and can suggest people who have been effective in the past. We also try to match our suggested names to your needs in terms of e.g. geographical area (often desirable for cost-savings, if nothing else), curricular and research emphases, category of institution, small or large, public or private, and distinctive mission.

What to do: If you want the help of CAS in conducting an APR, you may contact the Director:

Jeffrey J. Henderson
William Goodwin Aurelio Professor of Greek
Department of Classical Studies
Boston University
745 Commonwealth Avenue
Boston, MA 02215

617.353.2427
jhenders@bu.edu

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