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Program Review

A Program Review is a visit by an outside reviewer or reviewers whose task is to assess in a written report the strengths and weaknesses of a particular department or program. These are usually conducted by a team of two or three reviewers, but single reviewers or larger teams or review 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. The Team tries to be supportive of the Program but not without being critical at the same time. (Reviews that give nothing but praise and support may please the Classicists but tend to be disregarded by administrators.) The main task is to offer realistic, constructive support. Most Program Reviews are helpful and produce positive results for the program.

The CAS does not conduct the Program Reviews itself; its role is advisory. If a department or program wants to have a Review, it may contact the CAS Director for advice about the process and for suggestions about individuals who might be good reviewers. We have considerable experience with reviewers and can suggest people who have been effective in the past. We can also try to fit your needs in terms of finding reviewers from your geographical area (often desirable for cost-savings, if nothing else), and from a specific kind of institution, small or large, public or private, etc. The CAS will only suggest names; the program in question will decide who it wants. A program may, of course, establish a Program Review without using the CAS; some institutions have a regular review process for reviewing all their departments. The advantage of using the CAS, especially for less well-established departments or programs, is both to lend the support of the SCS to the final report, and to get help with the selection of referees and other matters.

What to do: If you want the help of CAS in conducting a Program Review, 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


However, you should first check with your Dean or other adminstrator to enlist their support, which is needed for two reasons. First, if you don't have support from someone higher up, the Review will probably do no good. Second, you will need to have funds to pay the expenses of the reviewers (see below). (The CAS has no funds and cannot help with this.) The CAS director will discuss your situation and needs and will offer some names of possible reviewers. We will contact reviewers if you wish, or you may contact them yourself. It is up to you, however, to make all the arrangements for the visit and to work with the reviewers and others to make the visit as productive as possible. The CAS is always willing to offer advice but takes no direct role in the Review. We will receive a final copy of the report and will want to hear back from you about the whole experience, in part so that we may better advise others in the future.

Expenses are usually no more than transportation, housing (usually for two nights), and meals. Transportation is usually the major expense, and sometimes dictates having reviewers from close by, but airfares are such these days that a short trip may sometimes cost more than a long one. Some institutions will add an honorarium for the reviewers; this is certainly nice but not obligatory. (In my experience honorariums are offered less than half the time and usually range from $100 to $400.)

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