Higher Education Peer Reviewers
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NAEYC’s accreditation and recognition of early childhood higher education programs depends upon the commitment and professionalism of our volunteer peer reviewers. Becoming a higher education peer reviewer is an excellent way to learn more about these quality assurance systems, as well as to give back to the early childhood field. Higher education peer reviewers are asked to commit to at least one review cycle per year (spring, fall, or both). Reviewers may serve in one of two capacities (or both, depending on background experience and preference) in the accreditation system and/or the recognition system.
Qualifications to Become a Higher Education Peer Reviewer
All peer reviewers in both systems must have:
- Experience teaching early childhood courses as a faculty member at a college or university.
- A graduate degree in early childhood education, child development, or a closely related field.
- Familiarity with the NAEYC Standards for Professional Preparation Programs.
- An understanding of student assessment in higher education programs.
Current or former full- or part-time early childhood faculty members who meet the qualifications listed above are encouraged to apply! Qualified applicants will be invited to participate in an online training program.
Roles and Expectations
For Accreditation Reviewers
Peer reviewers for the accreditation system (associate, baccalaureate, and master's programs):
- Work as a small team to evaluate one early childhood higher education program's self-study report per cycle.
- Interact with program faculty, students, administrators, and community members during a three-day site visit to the program in order to gather additional information.
- Write a peer review report summarizing the team’s findings after the site visit. This report is shared with the program as well as forwarded to the Commission for their use in making the final accreditation decision.
For Recognition Reviewers
Peer reviewers for the recognition system (baccalaureate, master's, and doctoral programs):
- Work as a small team to electronically evaluate several early childhood higher education programs' reports per cycle (there is no site visit component to the recognition review process).
- Determine whether or not the programs have successfully met the standards and earned recognition.
- Write a recognition report summarizing the findings, which is forwarded to the NAEYC Audit Team to ensure accuracy and consistency among decisions.
Apply to Become a Higher Education Peer Reviewer
Applications are accepted January through February and August through September each year. Qualified applicants from the January/February application cohort will be invited to participate in an online training occuring in March. Training for those in the August/September cohort will occur in October.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I (or my employer) be responsible for covering the cost of traveling to site visits in the accreditation system?
A: No. The program being reviewed covers the travel costs associated with hosting the reviewer team.
Q: Is there compensation for serving as a higher education peer reviewer?
A: The peer reviewer role is a volunteer position. However, many reviewers have shared that the professional development gained through serving as a reviewer is priceless. In addition, each year, NAEYC sends letters of commendation to active peer reviewers' college presidents, deans, or other supervisors to share recognition of and gratitude for their hard work, which reviewers often say is helpful during performance reviews, tenure review, and other professional growth opportunities.
Q: I am an adjunct or retired faculty member. Am I still eligible to serve as a higher education peer reviewer?
A: Yes! Provided the courses you are teaching or have taught are early childhood or child development courses and you have a graduate degree in ECE or a related field, you are welcome to apply!