General responsibilities and timeline for ASBMB accreditation program reviewers

The goals of program accreditation

The ASBMB’s accreditation program began in 2013. The society aims to promote excellence in BMB undergraduate education by broadly defining characteristics of strong programs and supporting faculty in their efforts to provide the best possible opportunities for their students. ASBMB accreditation is designed to provide institutions flexibility while also setting expectations for high-quality educational experiences in BMB. Accreditation is based on evaluation of three program components: curriculum, institutional characteristics and faculty qualifications.

Who serves on accreditation review panels?

Faculty members, including emeriti, from a variety of institutions volunteer or are recruited to serve as reviewers. Scientists from industry are also welcome and have served in the past. Ideally, accreditation reviewers have had administrative experience. We particularly appreciate the participation of directors of newly accredited programs.

What are the benefits of volunteering as a reviewer?

The accreditation program can serve to transform undergraduate BMB education, and it is crucial to have input about criteria and standards from across the ASBMB community. Volunteers find themselves part of a community of practice, which is professionally fulfilling. The contributions of volunteers are acknowledged through the awarding of the title of ASBMB Education Associate, a certification that can be cited in biographical sketches and tenure and promotion dossiers.

What do accreditation reviewers do and when do they do it?

Applications from programs seeking accreditation are usually due around mid-September to early October. Depending on the number of applications and the number of volunteers, each reviewer is typically assigned 2–4 applications to evaluate, and each application is assigned to two reviewers. Volunteers have approximately one month to read and evaluate their assigned applications. Applications are assessed on the basis of a rubric, which is kept up to date based on reviewer feedback after each application-and-review cycle. The rubric yields a score, from which reviewers recommend either full accreditation (7 years), provisional accreditation (3 years), deferral or decline.

Reviewers meet either in person or virtually in late November or early December to discuss all applications and reach final decisions. Discussions are led by the assigned reviewers for each application, but feedback from all reviewers is considered in reaching final decisions. The primary reviewer drafts a decision letter, which is then edited by the secondary reviewer and the accreditation sub-committee chair. The ASBMB strives to inform program directors of the results of the review in time for students in approved programs to register to take the ASBMB exam in the spring.

How can you volunteer to be an accreditation reviewer?

Thank you for your interest in volunteering! Please complete this form to let ASBMB staff know of your interest. Reviewers are typically recruited in the summer or the fall of each year, in advance of the next accreditation application deadline.