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. The Dean’s Letter may also 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

1) contextualize the unit’s contribution to its college;

2) evaluate the fit between the unit’s proposed goals and objectives, as stated in its Self-Study, and those of any ongoing, college-level, strategic planning efforts as well as the suitability of those goals and objectives more generally;

3) offer insights with regard to the desirability and feasibility of allocating college resources, where requested by the unit, to meet the unit’s stated goals and objectives. APR is expected, wherever possible, to be a budget-neutral process, with its major focus on non-resource-dependent program quality improvements. The cost of quality improvements will need to be met, for the most part, by reallocations elsewhere within the relevant unit or college or from sources external to the university.  Therefore, recognizing that some quality improvements require resources, 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; and

4) orient the External Reviewers and direct their attention to particular questions and issues for which their insight and feedback may be most helpful.