So You're Interested in Accreditation

Article excerpt

Your unit has decided to seek accreditation. Where do you start? The first thing to do is to look at the Accreditation Documents for Undergraduate Programs in Family and Consumer Sciences. This publication will be your guide. Basically, it is divided into three sections. The first section focuses on accreditation policies and procedures; the second section focuses on standards and criteria; and the third section includes the forms that you will need.

Form 1 is a checklist of steps needed to complete the process. Form 2 is the Application for Accreditation. This form is to be completed and three copies of this application and one copy of the institution's undergraduate catalog have to be forwarded to the Director of Accreditation. At the same time you need to request that a check for the accreditation fee be forwarded from your institution to the Office of Accreditation. The Director of Accreditation, on behalf of the Council for Accreditation, reviews your application and the catalog. She has two decisions open to her; she can recommend the initiation of a self-study within the unit or she can recommend that the unit not go forward with the self-study at that time. The Director of Accreditation, indicating the decision and any other instructions, sends a letter to the unit administrator. Assuming the decision is a positive one, it is now time to start the selfstudy.

You will need 12 to 18 months to complete the self-study because input must be sought from faculty, students, and alumni. For instance, a follow up survey of alumni within the last ten years will need to be developed. If mailing to more than 200 alumni, you will probably want to use bulk mailing postal rates, which means delivery can take up to six weeks. Add the response time for alumni and the time you will need to analyze the data received, and you can see why the time needed to complete the self-study averages 12 to 18 months.

New forms are available replacing Forms 5, 6a, 6b, 8, and 11. If you are using the 1995 edition of the Accreditation Documents for Undergraduate Program in Family and Consumer Sciences, the revised forms will be mailed to you upon request. The revised forms will be included in the new edition of this document, which is scheduled to mail in spring 2001. Forms 5, 6a, 6b, and 8 have been designed to more clearly indicate student outcomes assessment, an integral part of the self-study. Form 11 is a revision of Faculty Personnel Data. (If you elect to use this new form, you will need to have personnel records available in case the site visit team wants to request any additional information.

Five copies of the self-study report and five copies of the institution's undergraduate catalog must be submitted to the Office of Accreditation. Materials received by September 1 will be considered in the Council's fall meeting and materials received by February 1 will be considered at the Council's spring meeting. …