Looking from the Outside In: Considerations for External Assessment
Keywords:external review, program review, assessment, organizational theory
Grant projects. Program review. Accreditation. All of these may involve the use of external reviewers to provide consultation and objective evaluation. Working with external visitors, or serving in this capacity, can be a complicated process to navigate. While external review strategies have clear advantages, they also present distinct challenges to the external reviewers and those internal to the project. Staff in departments undergoing review may experience anxiety and wonder how to maximize chances for success. Using Bolman and Deal's (2017) four-frame model of perspectives on organizations, the authors offer considerations for student affairs professionals engaging in the external review process for both external reviewers and internal parties. These considerations include encouraging individuals to be thoughtful about campus culture, logistics, access to information, effective working relationships, and explicit clarification of the nature and purpose of the task(s). Ultimately, these considerations focus on ways to make the external review process positive and effective.