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


Review visits are in the spring and fall. .

Timeline for serving on External Review Panel
Time Frame Process Steps
18 months before review visit Committee on Accreditation (CoA)approves panelists for a specific review.
12 months before visit Program clears panelists for conflicts of interest.
Reviewers are invited to serve as external review panelists.
4 months before visit External Review Panel chair works with panelists for assignment of specific Standards.
Panelists review draft Self-study and provide feedback to ERP chair to share with program.
6-8 weeks before visit Panelists plan travel arrangements with guidance from Office. 
Panel continues planning visit via email and conferences.
6 weeks before visit Panelists receive Self-study directly from program.
Panelists read and analyze Self-study.
Panelists draft ERP report sections before visit to determine verification plan.  
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 Self-study (generally 100-200 pages in length)
  • Analyze assigned portion of Self-study
  • 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 consists of two-five 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 Office for Accreditation staff at accred@ala.org.