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Arm’s Length Requirement

All members of review committees must be at arm’s length from the unit/program(s) under review; that is:

  • Reviewers/consultants cannot be close friends, current or recent collaborators, former supervisors, advisors or colleagues of members of the unit/program.
  • Arm’s length does not mean that the reviewer must never have met or even heard of a member of the program.
  • Arm’s length does mean that reviewers should not be chosen who are likely, or perceived to be likely, to be predisposed to view the program or unit either positively or negatively.

Examples of what may violate the arm’s length requirement:

  • A previous member of the program or department under review (including being a visiting professor).
  • Received a graduate degree from the program under review.
  • A regular co-author and research collaborator with a member of the program, within the past seven years, and especially if that collaboration is ongoing.
  • Close family/friend relationship with a member of the program.
  • A regular or repeated external examiner of dissertations by doctoral students in the program.
  • The doctoral supervisor of one or more members of the program.

Examples of what may not constitute a violation of the arm’s length requirement:

  • Appeared on a panel at a conference with a member of the program.
  • Served on a granting council selection panel with a member of the program.
  • Author of an article in a journal edited by a member of the program, or of a chapter in a book edited by a member of the program.
  • External examiner of a dissertation by a doctoral student in the program.
  • Presented a paper at a conference held at the university where the program is located.
  • Invited a member of the program to present a paper at a conference organized by the reviewer, or to write a chapter in a book edited by the reviewer.
  • Received a bachelor’s degree from the university (especially if in another program).
  • Co-author or research collaborator with a member of the program more than seven years ago.
  • Presented a guest lecture at the university.
  • Reviewed for publication a manuscript written by a member of the program.