Applying for Accreditation
1. The Unit applies for accreditation by requesting self-study documents from the ACA Accreditation Committee. The self-study documents and supporting materials will be sent within two working days of receiving the request. These documents may be requested from the ACA Board of Directors, or may be downloaded directly from the ACA Website. No Unit should initiate a self-study without explicit approval from the Accreditation Committee of the ACA.
2. The co-chairs of the Accreditation Committee will appoint a team to evaluate the self-study documents. Teams consist of two to four members having specific expertise relative to the unit being evaluated.
3. The Unit completes the institutional self-study, prepares the self-study documents, and returns 15 copies of them to the ACA Accreditation Committee co-chairs. Within three weeks of receiving the self-study documents, the Accreditation Committee will advise the Unit as to whether the documents are in acceptable form for proceeding. If they are found to be incomplete or unacceptable, they will be returned to the Unit with specific instructions on what changes or additions are required. It is recommended that the Unit dedicate at least one full semester to the preparation of the self-study document. In any case, the approved self-study documents must be received by the Accreditation Committee not less than 60 days prior to any anticipated site visit.
4. After receiving the completed self-study documents, the ACA Accreditation Committee, in consultation with the Chief Administrative Officer of the Unit requesting accreditation, sets a date for the site visit and appoints the site evaluation team. Depending upon the type and size of the Unit being evaluated, the site team will be comprised of two to four members. Unless specific circumstances prevent it, the self-study evaluation team and the site evaluation team will be comprised of the same members.
5. After the dates of the site visit are set and the site evaluation team is assigned, specific timetables for the visit are determined by the site team leader and the Chief Administrative Officer of the Unit.
The Site Visit
Each accreditation visit is tailored to fit the institutional and Unit mission, scope, and size. Typically, site visits begin on Sunday afternoon and conclude on Wednesday morning. However, they may also be scheduled to begin on Tuesday afternoon and run through Friday morning. If significant airfare savings can be realized by the Unit, the team may arrive on Saturday evening. In no event should the site evaluation team arrive later than 2:00 p.m., local time.
On Day One the site evaluation team should be given a tour of the Unit's facilities including classrooms, computer labs, studios, faculty offices, library facilities, and the general campus. This should take no more than two hours.
On the evening of the day of arrival, the site evaluation team should have a dinner meeting with the Unit's Chief Administrative Officer.
Day Two of the site visit begins with the site evaluation team, Unit faculty members, and unit Chief Administrative Officer having a breakfast meeting. This meeting is followed by a forty-five minute to one hour meeting between the site evaluation team and the Institution's Chief Executive Officer and/or Chief Academic Officer. The Chief Administrative Officer of the Unit being evaluated will not be present for this session.
The site evaluation team will conduct several "batch" interviews with groups of students. These groups may be classes, student organizations, or other representative groups selected by the Unit faculty or Chief Administrative Officer.
Site evaluation team members will observe regularly scheduled classes in progress. The Chief Administrative Officer of the Unit should provide the team leader with a complete schedule of classes offered during the duration of the visit.
The site evaluation team will conduct private interviews with individual members of the faculty. Typically all members of the team will be present for these interviews, but in the case of larger Units containing faculty specializing in several areas of the discipline, the team leader may assign individual members based upon their expertise to interview different faculty members.
Day Two of the site visit should be concluded no later than 4:00 pm. Some units choose to hold an informal reception on the evening of Day Two to allow members of the site evaluation team and faculty and administrators of the Unit to interact in a less structured environment.
The morning of Day Three is typically dedicated to continued meetings with student groups, observing classes, or conducting faculty interviews.
On the afternoon and evening of Day Three, the site evaluation team will write its preliminary report.
On the morning of Day Four, the site evaluation team will meet with the Chief Executive Officer and/or Chief Academic Officer of the Institution, present its preliminary report, and then depart.
For more information on ACA Program Accreditation, email ACA Executive Director, Dr. Phil Auter firstname.lastname@example.org