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Consultant vs. External Reviewer(s)



Generally, there are two types of consultants who can assist with the program development process. 

  1. A discipline-specific consultant with teaching experience and is a subject matter expert in the discipline specific to the program being developed. They can provide feedback about the curriculum, sequencing, and other aspects of program development. In addition, they could critique drafts of the program proposal. 
  2. A market analysis consultant to conduct a feasibility study to assess program demand, student interest, employer interest, occupational projections, competitive landscape of other program providers, and or other aspects of a market analysis or feasibility study. 

The discipline-specific consultant could be hired at any point in the program proposal process.

Due to cost efficiency, it may not be necessary for a market analysis consultant to be utilized until the Letter of Notification has been accepted by THEC and the New Academic Program Proposal is being created and the finalized LON is being completed. At this time, consultants will assist with feasibility studies. 

Please view the THEC Resource Guide for Feasibility Studies, visit https://www.tn.gov/content/dam/tn/thec/bureau/aa/academic-programs/program-approv/aca-pol/THEC_Resource_Guide_Feasibility_Studies_July_2017.pdf

For undergraduate program development, please contact Dr. Tucker Brown.

For graduate program development, please contact the Dean of the College of Graduate Studies, Dr. Chad Brooks or Dr. Tucker Brown.

While no specific funding exists for consultants, the department chair and his or her dean should discuss the process and cost with the Provost as well as Procurement and Contracts. The cost of the consultant will determine the type of process you will complete with Procurement and Contracts.

External Reviewer(s)

The External Review is the final step of program development. It is a site visit from Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) staff and qualified reviewer or reviewers.

External Reviewer(s) is/are selected from a list provided by the academic department to THEC (through the APSU Academic Program Liaison to THEC). The academic department is required to submit the names of five to six possible External Reviewers. The list must include the job titles and contact information (email and phone), as well as the URL for the proposed External Reviewer's own academic department. The typed list should be provided to the Dr. Tucker Brown when the NAPP is submitted. Reviewers must meet the below requirements:

  • Be a subject matter expert in the proposed field
  • Be a tenured faculty member with associate or higher academic rank, teaching and a record of research experience
  • No prior relationship with either the institution or close personal or familial relationship with the potential faculty involved in the proposed academic program
  • Not be employed within the state of Tennessee
  • Not have been a consultant or a board member at the institution within the last ten years 
  • Not have been a candidate for employment at the institution within the last seven years
  • Not be a graduate of the institution
  • Not have any other relationship that could serve as an impediment to rendering an impartial, objective professional judgment regarding the merits of the proposed academic program.

THEC staff and the External Reviewer(s) meet with the Provost/VPAA, Vice Provost/AVPAA, College Dean, Faculty, Library representatives, and potentials students and or employers of future graduates of the program. The External Review also includes a tour of the program facilities. They will ask pointed questions regarding the proposed program and the plan to implement and maintain the program. 

 A report from the External Reviewer(s) is submitted within 30 days of the site visit and will include suggestions to improve the proposed program. Some recommendations will require action and others will be optional. The University must respond to the External Review report within 30 days.