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Statement on External Department Reviews
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The following statement was prepared by the APA committee on the status and future of the profession (William Mann, chair) and approved by the board of officers at its 2006 meeting. It was revised by the same committee (Jennifer Lackey, chair) and approved by the board at its August 2019 meeting.

The APA often receives requests from philosophy departments for recommendations of persons appropriate to serve as external department reviewers. The board of officers realizes that departmental review is a fairly common, periodic phenomenon in the life of many institutions of higher learning. After considerable deliberation, the board has decided that the APA website can be used as a mechanism by which those seeking external reviewers of philosophy departments or programs may find philosophers willing to do so. APA members will be able to self-identify as potential reviewers in their APA member profiles, and those seeking reviewers can search the member database for a list of them. However, while the APA website can be used to facilitate this, the APA will not play a role in maintaining this list of potential reviewers, or in vetting the credentials of anyone who wishes to volunteer as a reviewer. Two major considerations—the diversity of programs and perceptions about endorsement—have led the board to this position.

Philosophy departments are embedded in institutions with diverse problems and priorities, varying missions, and various visions of the role of philosophy in higher education. The APA is not equipped to oversee and maintain the construction of a list of recommended reviewers with a wide enough range of experience and competence, sensitive enough to match the diverse needs of people seeking recommendations.

Moreover, were the APA to maintain such a list, it would be difficult to avoid the perception that people on the list bore the endorsement of the APA. The APA does not have the desire, the expertise, or the resources to appraise the credentials of potential reviewers. As a consequence, although the APA offers members the option to indicate in their member profiles that they are willing to serve as reviewers, it should be clear that the APA has not evaluated, and therefore does not endorse as potential reviewers, those who do so.

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