Neal Abraham · SM 20
Serving as an External Consultant for a Department Review
Periodic review by a department of its programs can be a rewarding opportunity for reflection, evaluation, and improvement; assisting a department with its review as an external consultant is also rewarding. This presentation will review how to find these rewards with a specific focus on the advantages to departments of using external consultants and suggestions for consultants on how they can be most effective. The advantages of a departmental review lie in taking a systematic approach that includes gathering relevant data on a regular basis, assessing the data regularly, and regularly assessing and revising departmental initiatives designed to achieve desired improvements. Though the detailed planning and development of strategic initiatives are the responsibilities of the department and its institution, external consultants can help a department pay closer attention to trends in their data and outcomes, ask critical questions that may have been overlooked, and direct them to examples of alternative practices and models, in addition to providing useful findings and recommendations. This presentation draws heavily on chapters of the new EP3 guide: Effective Practices for Physics Programs which provides advice and suggestions for both physics departments and external consultants during the departmental review process.