Guidelines for Dean’s Letter
To help the external review team prepare for its site visit, the unit’s Dean writes a focused letter, which is provided to the External Reviewers prior to their visit and which may serve as one of the reviews of the unit considered during the development of the APR Action Plan.
The Dean’s Letter can offer a unique perspective on the contributions made by the unit to the activities of the college as a whole. In particular, the Dean’s Letter may
a. contextualize the unit’s contribution to its college;
b. reflect on the fit between the unit’s goals, as stated in its Self-Study, and those of any ongoing, college-level, strategic planning efforts;
c. evaluate the suitability of the unit’s proposed sustaining and disruptive innovations; and
d. offers insights with regard to the desirability and feasibility of allocating college resources, where requested by the unit, to meet its stated goals. APR is a budget-neutral process in the sense that there is no additional funding from central administration for APR, and its major focus should be on quality improvements. Recognizing that some quality improvements require resources, however, deans and unit heads may choose to redirect resources within existing college and department budgets to facilitate the achievement of a unit’s APR goals. Moreover, deans can engage with units in a discussion of entrepreneurial strategies for funding particular initiatives.
Above all, the Dean’s Letter provides an opportunity for the Dean to orient the External Reviewers and direct their attention to particular questions and issues for which their insight and feedback may be most helpful.