Sample Agenda for an External Reviewers’ Site Visit

Organizing Principles for Creating an Agenda

  • Allow travel time between meetings, leaving ample time for reviewers to have some “down time” to get coffee, use the restroom, retire to their private meeting room for brief discussions among themselves, check messages, etc.
  • Unless otherwise requested, have meetings occasionally occur in different locations to allow visitors to move around periodically.
  • Ensure meeting rooms are quiet and allow confidential conversations.
  • Include names, titles, and organizational responsibilities of people being visited.
  • Include meeting room numbers and building names, cell phone contacts, and travel itineraries (including local transportation) on the agenda, for reference. Include a map and parking instructions and permits as needed.
  • For visits to small departments, it may be possible to condense the visit to a single day.
  • While classroom observations of individual instructors are not recommended, brief visits during instruction to understand learning environments may provide useful context.
  • Include a facilities tour only if one is requested, or to address specific questions.
  • If one reviewer must leave before others, allow time for reviewers to plan the oral report and make assignments for portions of the written report while all reviewers are still present.
  • Consider dietary requirements when choosing meal locations, making sure to reserve a quiet location, if possible, so that discussions can continue during each meal.
  • Provide disability and other accommodations for visitors, students, faculty, and staff.
  • When meetings involve many people, consider room size, acoustics, and seating to allow everyone a chance to speak and be heard.
  • Consult reviewers in advance to see if there are specific individuals or groups they would like to meet with during their visit.
  • Try to accommodate requests from reviewers to modify the agenda during the visit.

Draft Agenda

The draft agenda below highlights key meetings during the site visit and their sequence. When reading this, focus less on the specific times and more on the kinds of activities suggested. Consider institutional practices when creating the agenda and accommodate requests to attract a diverse pool of reviewers, by e.g., adjusting start times for individuals traveling across multiple time zones and ensuring reviewers have time to rest and attend to other responsibilities during their visit. Recognize that the time required for a review may depend on the size of your department and the number of stakeholders that reviewers need to talk to. A very small department may require less time and a large department may require more.

Day 0

4 pm: Arrival
5 pm: Dinner: Meeting of reviewers with department chair or dean
7 pm: Private meeting of reviewers to review and suggest any changes to the agenda, review and decide on questions to ask and topics to discuss with different individuals and groups

Day 1

8 am: Meeting with upper-level administrator(s)
9 am: Meetings with individual faculty and staff members
11 am: Reflection and writing time for reviewer
Lunch: Meeting with students, including students from different levels, if possible
1 pm: Continue meetings with faculty and staff members
3 pm: Meetings with other groups (e.g., other department chairs, representatives of departments requiring physics courses) and/or tour of facilities
4 pm: Reviewers begin drafting key findings and recommendations
5 pm: Break
6 pm: Private dinner discussions

Day 2

8 am: Meetings with additional faculty and staff members
10 am: Reviewers continue drafting and refining key findings and recommendations
11 am: Reviewers present and discuss oral report with the department and, separately, key administrators
1 pm: Departure