Sample MOU for Engaging an External Reviewer for Program Review

Example Contract

Below is an example contract for an external reviewer if your institution does not have an existing contract format.

Agreement: by and between

Name of reviewer (“REVIEWER”)
Contact information


Institution (“INSTITUTION”)
Name (representative of institution)
Contact information

for a reviewer visit as part of a physics department review at INSTITUTION with the visit to occur on {dates of review}.

The INSTITUTION and its physics department agree to the following.


  1. Form a Departmental Review Committee (DRC), one member of which is the department chair, to oversee the creation of the self-study report, plan and manage the visit, and lead activities subsequent to the visit.

  2. Collaboratively identify and recruit a team of external reviewers (or an individual reviewer if a team is not possible).

  3. The DRC will

    1. Develop a draft timeline for the review process, including an outline of the self-study report, potential briefing materials (e.g., prior external reviewers’ reports), and a timeline for completing and distributing the self-study report and briefing materials.

    2. Develop a draft agenda for meetings during the visit.

    3. Outline the strategy for adopting goals, objectives, and strategic initiatives identified in the self-study report or as a result of reviewer feedback.

    4. Meet the review team by videoconference approximately three months before the visit to review items listed in 3a.–3c.

    5. Conduct a review process leading to a self-study report to be completed and shared with reviewers at least two weeks before the visit.

    6. Ensure arrangements for the campus visit, including inviting campus participants to scheduled meetings, making lodging and meal arrangements with consideration given to dietary restrictions and accessibility needs, arranging meeting and committee working rooms, and confirming local transportation.

  4. The INSTITUTION may provide a charge (including topics to be explored) to the reviewers when the self-study report is distributed.


  1. Distribute the reviewers’ report as broadly as possible, including to all faculty and staff in the department and key administrators.

  2. Provide an honorarium of $__________ to REVIEWER and reimburse expenses upon submission of an expense report and receipts. {stipulate any limitations, such as coach fare, meal per diem, etc.}

  3. The DRC will

    1. Revise and update goals, objectives, and strategic initiatives for the department as needed after receiving the reviewers’ report.

    2. Write a one-to-two-page action plan using SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Actionable/Achievable, Relevant, Timely) and share this with members of the department, relevant administrators, and reviewers.

The REVIEWER agrees to the following.

  1. Make travel arrangements (including booking airline or train tickets as needed) consistent with the visit agenda and INSTITUTION’s travel guidelines.
  2. Participate in the videoconference (see 3.d. above).
  3. Thoroughly read the self-study report and other briefing materials.
  4. Fully participate in the scheduled visit of the external reviewers.
  5. Contribute to oral reports by the review team of findings and recommendations to the department and to INSTITUTION administrators at the end of the visit.
  6. Provide the final written report from the reviewer team in three weeks or less following the visit.
  7. Treat all information, findings, and recommendations confidentially.

Both parties agree that the work of REVIEWER is as an independent contractor, not as an employee of INSTITUTION.

REVIEWER is solely responsible for payment of all relevant taxes.


Signature: ___________________________

Date: _______________________________


Signature: ___________________________

Date: _______________________________

Departmental contact person for the review:

NAME: ______________________________

Title: ________________________________

Contact information: _______________________________________________________