What’s involved in serving on an External Review Panel?


Site visits are conducted a minimum of 10 weeks before the COA meeting where the accreditation decision is made. Generally, review visits that occur in the fall are scheduled in October or early November. Spring review visits are scheduled in March or early April.

Timeline for serving on External Review Panel
Time Frame Process Steps
18 months before review visit COA approves panelists for a specific review
12 months before visit Program clears panelists for conflicts of interest
Panelists are invited to serve
4 months before visit ERP Chair assigns panelists responsibility for specific Standards
Panelists review draft Program Presentation and provide feedback to ERP Chair to share with program
6-8 weeks before visit Panelists plan travel arrangements with guidance from ERP Chair
Panel continues collaboration via conference calls or online discussion
6 weeks before visit Panelists receive Program Presentation directly from program
Panelists read and analyze Program Presentation
Panelists write draft of assigned section of ERP report before visit
Review visit Panelists are generally on site from late Saturday through early Wednesday
3 weeks after visit Draft ERP report due
5 weeks after visit Final ERP report due

External Review Panelist responsibilities and activities

  • Be very familiar with the Standards for Accreditation and the Guidelines for the ERP (Section III, AP3)
  • Participate in conference calls, online discussions, and scheduled meetings with entire panel
  • Read entire Program Presentation (the program’s self study, generally 100-200 pages in length)
  • Analyze assigned portion of Program Presentation
  • Write draft of assigned section of ERP report prior to site visit
  • Gather evidence for assigned Standards
  • Participate in all assigned activities while on site
  • Complete assigned section of ERP report by deadline

Selection of panelists

A panel typically consists of six reviewers, including a chair. Panelists are selected for a specific review, and the panel as a whole must have a thorough understanding of the context of the program. The Office for Accreditation maintains a database of trained reviewers and their qualifications. The Office recommends potential panelists to COA for approval.

Considerations include, but are not limited to:

  • Areas of expertise and experience
  • Mix of practitioners and LIS educators
  • Panelist experience – generally, only one inexperienced panelist is placed per panel
  • Conflicts of interest
  • Evaluations from previous reviews

Yes, I’d like to become an External Review Panelist

External Review Panelist required qualifications and application form

For more information, please contact Laura Dare, Assistant Director, at ldare@ala.org or 312-280-2435.