External Review Panel Report on the Master of Library and Information Studies Program

This annotated report example provides approaches to the External Review Panel Report. It is not intended to be used as a template.

Find more Resources for External Review Panels at http://www.ala.org/ala/accreditation/erpresource/resource.htm





Panel Chair, (Chair), Title, Institution

Panel Member, Title, Institution

Panel Member, Title, Institution

Panel Member, Title, Institution

Panel Member, Title, Institution

Panel Member, Title, Institution



The master's program at ABC University was initiated in 1967 and was the first graduate library science program offered within the State System of Higher Education. The program has been accredited by the American Library Association since 1976.

AVOID reiterating large segments of information contained in the Program Presentation such as program history. COA will have both the Program Presentation and the ERP Report.

DO briefly summarize the history of the program, put the program in the University context, and document ALA accreditation history.

DO summarize the panel schedule, including the activities of panel members who did not visit the campus. Provide a brief description of the visit and of the individuals interviewed during the visit, along with a description of any other means of evidence collection (i.e., Web-based questionnaires, phone interviews, personal interviews) by which the panel collected information. 

The chair of the panel visited two classes and interviewed students on the satellite campus on Saturday, October 12, 2002, and later toured the new off campus center in [City], located in the southwest part of the state. On Sunday, October 13, 2002, the panel met the Director who provided a tour of the facilities. In the afternoon of the same day, the panel held an information session for students, alumni, and employers. On Monday, October 14, the panel held an information session for faculty and staff. During the visit, panel members met with all full-time faculty, six adjunct faculty, all full-time staff members and approximately seventy students. Panel members attended portions of all classes at the main location held on Monday, October 14 and Tuesday, October 15. The panel interviewed senior administrators who interact with the Program. These include: Provost [Name], Associate Vice President for Research [Name], Graduate School Dean and Associate Provost [Name, Assistant Vice President for E-Learning [Name], Dean of the College of Education [Name].

Panel members interviewed staff members: [Names]. Interviews were also held with [Names]. All full time faculty and six part time faculty were also interviewed.   Students in both program locations were interviewed.

The Program’s facilities and relevant collections in the library were examined. The Program provided a workroom with relevant documents, computers, and other supplies during the visit. The Program also provided a workroom and laptop computer at the hotel for the panel. All documents requested were supplied. Documents consulted include: faculty presentations, budget information, salary data, course outlines, faculty evaluations by students, and minutes of committees and faculty meetings of the Program.

The faculty, staff, and Director of the Program were helpful and courteous throughout the visit. The materials provided were well organized and centrally located.

Members of the panel monitored the student listserv for six weeks.



DO organize your analysis by Standard. 

The Library and Information Science Program's Mission, Goals and Objectives have been undergoing a major change in the last three years, based on a University-wide development of a new strategic plan (onsite interviews).    

DO explain how the panel gathered evidence.

The University-wide planning process began in 1999, shortly after the arrival of a new President, [Name]. While the Library and Information Science Program had been doing annual ongoing planning since the last accreditation in 1996, they used this larger process as a starting point from which to redevelop their own Mission, Goals and Objectives (Program Presentation, p. 6-7).

DO refer to specific page numbers in the Program Presentation. 

They did so with the following in mind:

  • To bring their Mission, Goals and Objectives into line and to be consistent with the University plan. To this end, the development of the University plan was continually monitored and adhered to (Program Presentation, p. 7).
  • The Library and Information Science Program developed a new Mission, Goals and Objectives in tandem with the University plan.    From 1999, the new Director [Name] initiated an annual identification of the Goals and Objectives with a view of constantly being in line with the larger University plan (Program Presentation, p. 7).
  • The Library and Information Science Program was, at the same time, preparing its Program Presentation recognizing that the Program's Mission, Goals and Objectives was the first area that needed consideration (Program Presentation, p. 7 and onsite interviews).

In [date], after consultation with numerous constituencies (Program Presentation, p. 8 and onsite interviews), the Program's Mission, Goals and Objectives were approved:

The mission of the Library and Information Science Program is to prepare students to assume professional roles in varied and evolving library and information environments.” (Program Presentation, p. 8)

From this core Mission, five central Goals and Objectives were identified (Program Presentation, p. 8-10). Each goal has been stated in terms of actions to be undertaken to achieve the goal specified. Each Library and Information Science Program Goal and Objective has been compared to University Goals and Objectives to assure compliance to them and representation of each in the Program's own Goals and Objectives (Program Presentation, p. 10 and onsite interviews). This not only helps keep the two in tandem but is also a very valuable guide and clear plan of action.

DO emphasize actionable objectives. If those are missing, flag the omission. If panel members have concerns about the objectives being reasonable, state those concerns. 

The Library and Information Science Program has undertaken several structural initiatives to regularize and review its Mission, Goals and Objectives.

  • The Academic Concerns Committee of the Library and Information Science Program reviews the Mission, Goals and Objectives annually to assure accuracy and continued relevance. Their recommendations are then reviewed and approved by the whole faculty (Program Presentation, p. 13 and meeting minutes of the Faculty Annual Retreats).
  • The current Director, [Name], is re-establishing the Program’s Advisory Board once active in the 1990s. This Board will meet every two years and advise the Program for future directions. Their membership will be of a diverse nature both in expertise and geographically (Program Presentation, p. 13 and onsite interviews).
  • The Library and Information Science Alumni Association (LISAA) will be asked to review the Mission, Goals and Objectives annually and to suggest new ideas and modifications (Program Presentation, p. 13).
  • A detailed calendar has been devised for annual and regular planning (Program Presentation, p. 13-16).    Numerous activities in the calendar relate directly to the Mission, Goals and Objectives. The September calendar in particular calls for outcomes assessment reviews by committees (Program Presentation, p. 15) and to charge the Academic Concerns Committee with a review of the Mission, Goals and Objectives (Program Presentation, Appendix L).
  • The Library and Information Science Program has prepared an itemized matrix plan to measure outcomes. The matrices are: 1. Objectives in terms of Outcomes/Assessment tools and measures; 2. Evidence that outcomes have been met and; 3. Planned activities to meet outcomes and; 4. Timelines for measurement outcomes. This is a substantive document providing a clear planning timeline.

DO evaluate the reliability and validity of the Program’s assessment instruments reviewed.

At the same time, the Library and Information Science Program is developing and has developed considerable plans to grow their distance education programs. Some of these are being taught at various campuses and some development is taking place using the web. This is a clear goal of both the Program and the University (Program Presentation, p.12 and onsite interviews).

There are also plans to initiate a Ph.D. program that falls in line, once again, with the University's Strategic Plan.

The Library and Information Science Program has clearly developed a carefully structured Mission, Goals and Objectives to be consistent with the University’s plans. (Program Presentation, p. 10 and http://www.lisp.ABC University.edu/about/mission.htm LISP website and http://www.president.ABC University.edu/strategicplan/University Strategic Plan.)

DO cite where COA and the program's constituencies can access information.

They have clearly defined steps to assure conformity with the Mission, Goals and Objectives. In particular, their matrix plan is to measure each goal and objective with specific outcome and measurement tools. It should assure, as well, an annual and continuing planning process.

Since this process is at the initial stages, however, many of the measurements of outcomes and ongoing evidence will be forthcoming this year and in future years according to their own timeline.

The Library and Information Science Program appears to be on a strong footing for the future in their planning. We commend the program for its planning process and the close tie to the University’s strategic plan.


The program has instituted a planning process that is tied to the University’s strategic plan. This led to a new mission and goals and objectives statements. The Program goals and objectives were developed with all of the constituencies of the LISP. A planning and evaluation process may be in place, but the results of ongoing evaluation have not yet been systematically applied for program improvement.

The faculty and others review the curriculum continuously. Faculty teach the curriculum, conduct research, consult, and are active in professional associations. Students are able to construct coherent programs of study. However, the curriculum does not adequately integrate the theory, application and use of technology and a revision process is underway that promises to address this issue. Student evaluations of teaching in distance learning indicate the need for improvement in faculty teaching effectiveness. Students indicated limited opportunities for “participation in the definition and determination of the total learning experience.”

The faculty of the Program are qualified for appointment to the graduate faculty and do carry out the major share of teaching, research and service. Faculty members have the education and experience to teach their courses. Faculty members advise students both on and off-campus.

The Program uses various methods to recruit students and has policies in place for admission and financial aid. Students praise the faculty for their caring, but voiced concern about transcripts after graduation and the timely award of financial aid while students. Students found the scheduling of classes under the Interim Director much improved but await a multiyear schedule of classes.

The faculty and students are involved in the administration of the Program. While the administrative staff is small, the Program receives additional support from the Dean’s Office, which is necessary for this Program to meet its goals and objectives. The Interim Director is commended for all the improvements made in just ten months, and also for the redevelopment of the close cooperation of the Program with the Dean’s Office and staff. Financial support from the University has grown and the one reduction in support was made on a campus-wide basis.

The Program has adequate space in the main campus and exceptional space in its off-site locations. The new technology lab for LISP students is superb. One issue for the Program and the University is to develop a plan for the systematic replacement of all of its technology. Students at Exemplum also have access to a large lab, less than fifty yards away, which is open and staffed 24 hours per day, 7 days a week as well as two specialized labs at the same location as the Program.

AVOID making any statements regarding compliance with the Standards.

AVOID quoting the whole Standard, but if there are areas of weakness or strength in meeting the Standards, quote the relevant section of the Standard along with the evidence.  

DO focus on the program's strengths and weaknesses and lead readers to conclusions by citing the evidence as tied directly to the Standards.

Evidence provided indicates that program improvement initiatives should continue to include progress with:

  1. The timely processing of financial aid.
  2. The timely issuing of transcripts.
  3. The publication of a 5-year course-scheduling plan.
  4. A plan for the replacement of the existing technology within the Program.
  5. A plan for acquiring innovative technology to support the curriculum and research.