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Baldrige FAQs: Board of Examiners

How are Baldrige examiners selected?

Baldrige examiners are selected by the Baldrige Program, with advice from its Panel of Judges, through a competitive application process. Each fall, applications are solicited from individuals in manufacturing, service, small business, health care, and education organizations, as well as from government agencies, professional and trade organizations, and nonprofit groups, to serve as examiners for the following year.

Applications for the Board of Examiners are evaluated on the basis of individuals' (1) expertise in the seven Baldrige Criteria for Performance Excellence categories; (2) in-depth experience in several industrial or service sectors; (3) expertise in an area of high need for the program, such as small business operations, senior management, hospitality or service, health care, education, charitable nonprofits, and financial results; and (4) skills that have been proven to be useful for an examiner. Efforts are made to ensure broad representation on the board and to minimize disproportionate involvement of one industry, sector, or organization.

Each year, approximately one-third of the examiners are new to allow wide participation.

For more information about the examiner selection process, see Who Should Apply? Baldrige Examiner Selection.

What are the benefits of serving as an examiner? Are examiners paid?

Service on the Board of Examiners offers individuals the opportunity to

  • strengthen their ability to use the Criteria for Performance Excellence within their own organizations for continuous improvement and self-assessment
  • network with peers and enhance personal growth
  • gain experience in organizational assessment by reviewing applications from organizations across the United States, and participating (if assigned) in Site Visit Review
  • be recognized for service by the secretary of commerce and the director of NIST
  • attend the annual presentation of the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award by the President of the United States

Examiners receive valuable training and experience in understanding the Baldrige Criteria and applying them to a variety of organizations. Examiners develop analytical and consensus-building skills and a systems perspective that can be applied within their own organizations.

Members of the Board of Examiners are not compensated for their time; they serve on a voluntary basis. Examiners may request reimbursement for travel and associated administrative expenses (for training and phases of the evaluation process) if their activities are not supported by their employers.

What is required of examiners? How many hours?

Examiners contribute significant time to the Baldrige Program—ten or more days per year, including a required three-to-four-day Examiner Preparation Course and an Independent Review and Consensus Review of an award application. (In preparation for attendance at training, individuals selected to be examiners are expected to complete some online training, as well as an evaluation of a case study, all of which takes approximately 50 hours.) The actual number of days required of examiners depends on the number of applications to be reviewed and on whether the examiner participates in a Site Visit Review. Travel is necessary for training and Site Visit Review.

Independent review of an application is carried out at the examiner's work location or home. To complete the evaluation of an applicant, an examiner can expect to spend approximately 40 hours. Examiners participating in Consensus Review can expect to spend approximately 30 to 40 hours completing their assignments prior to the consensus conference call, 10 to 15 hours on planning and consensus conference calls, and approximately 3 to 5 hours after the call. Site visits require approximately 20 to 30 hours of individual preparation and 6 to 7 days on-site at the applicant's location(s).

In addition to their application review responsibilities, many examiners contribute their time to outreach and information-transfer activities, such as giving presentations, participating on panels, and writing articles. Many of these activities involve the professional, trade, community, and state organizations to which examiners belong.