External Review

The University may need to obtain a written evaluation of a proposal for a new joint degree program from a scholar at an institution outside of New York State.  The following grid indicates when external evaluations are necessary and how many.

 Columbia Program RegisteredColumbia Program Not Registered
     Bachelor'sNone RequiredNone Required
     Master'sNone RequiredOne Required
     DoctoralNone RequiredTwo Required

Proposed reviewers should be specialists in the area of the program but should not to have had an association with Columbia that would compromise the independence of their evaluations.  The NYSED considers that a conflict of interest exists if a proposed reviewer:

  • has had or applied for an appointment at the University or is related to someone who has;
  • was consulted about the development of the proposed program; or
  • has a professional relationship with someone at the University such as collaborating on externally funded research and publications.

The NYSED requires universities and colleges to obtain its approval of potential reviewers before asking any of them for their evaluations. Therefore, as part of the Proposal for New Program, the school should include 2-3 suggestions for external reviewers for Master's programs, and 3-5 suggestions for external reviewers for doctoral programs, with information on their institution and scholarly field.  The Vice Provost for Academic Programs submits the list of proposed reviewers to the NYSED.  Once the NYSED has given its approval, the originating unit obtains the necessary number of external reviews when it is required.  

To avoid delays in the registration of the new program, its sponsors should ask for the external evaluation while the proposal is still under review within the University.  In preparing the evaluation, the external reviewer should be asked to use the form NYSED External Review rather than sending a letter containing the evaluation.  The NYSED also requires that the reviewer sign the form. Upon receiving the evaluation, the proposal sponsors prepare a response using the form Response to External Review and forward it to the Vice Provost with the reviewers’ report for inclusion in the materials that will be sent to the NYSED.