A System for Evaluating Muhlenberg's Academic and Administrative Departments (rev. 12/28/03)


This proposal calls for a program of regularly scheduled internal and external reviews of Muhlenberg's academic and administrative departments, in order to:

  • foster a culture of self-evaluation, continuous improvement, and accountability;
  • provide regular occasions for assessment and the review of planning at the departmental level;
  • communicate Muhlenberg's strengths to the broader academic world;
  • create a broader base of volunteer leadership and philanthropic support for the College by engaging distinguished alumni, parents, and friends in substantive work that will develop them as informed advocates and potential future candidates for the Board of Trustees.

A pool of up to sixty (60) Observers will be elected by the Board of Trustees. Each Observer will be expected to participate in at least one visiting committee to an academic or administrative department during every four-year term.

Visiting Committees will be comprised of 2-3 Observers and 1-2 visiting experts (a faculty member or professional from a comparable institution with expertise in the appropriate field). Campus visits will be preceded by a departmental self-study, sent to Visiting Committee members well in advance. A 2-day campus visit will provide the Visiting Committee with opportunities to meet with the President, appropriate Dean, Provost, and/or Vice President, Department Head, faculty members, students, and faculty/staff in other departments that interact with the department or program being visited. Following the campus visit, the Visiting Committee will submit a written report to the President of the College who will share it with the relevant department and solicit a written response. Each report and response will be submitted to the appropriate committee of the Board of Trustees for review and discussion.


Election of Observers and Terms of Service
Names of Observer candidates will be submitted to the President of the College for consideration by the Nominating Committee of the Board. After appropriate consideration and discussion, the Nominating Committee may vote to recommend candidates to the full Board of Trustees for election. Observers will be elected by the Board of Trustees for four-year terms (renewable for a second consecutive four-year term before a mandatory break-year). For the first four years of the program, 15 candidates will be chosen each year, to provide a pool of 60 overseers with staggered terms. After their election, new Observers will participate in an orientation program with new Trustees and will indicate departments they are interested in reviewing. Every Observer will be expected to participate in at least one visiting committee to an academic or administrative department within each four-year term.

Composition of Visiting Committees
Each summer, the President will compare the proposed schedule of departmental visits with the recorded departmental preferences of Observers and consult with the appropriate Provost/Dean/Vice President and Department Head to assemble a provisional Visiting Committee. Outside Experts will be nominated by the Department Head in consultation with his/her department and the Provost/Dean/Vice President, will be approved by the President, and will be invited to serve by the Provost/Dean/Vice President. After consulting Observers and proposed Visiting Experts about their availability, visits will be scheduled throughout the fall and spring semesters.

Logistical Support
The President's Office will work with the Provost/Dean/Vice President and Department Head to develop and implement a timetable for production and distribution of the departmental self-study and logistics for the visit.


Costs will include honoraria, travel expenses, lodging and meals for the Visiting Experts and meals and lodging for Observers. Costs will be borne by the President's Office.