The Customized Accreditation Review Process
Note: In September 2012 the Commission began a three-year transition during which PEAQ will be replaced by two new Pathways, the Standard Pathway and the Open Pathway. AQIP, which has been in place since 1999, will continue as a third Pathway. This section is addressed to those institutions that are scheduled for PEAQ evaluations in 2012-13, 2013-14, and 2014-15.
The customized accreditation review process is an opportunity for an institution to move beyond the basic mode of self-reflection. The process allows the institution to pursue planning and evaluation that further enhance the self-study process and contribute to the attainment of its institutional priorities. Working with the Commission, the organization consciously proposes a customized accreditation review process when it wishes to generate additional value within the self-study activity.
Through participation in the customized accreditation review process, an institution demonstrates a high level of inspired and creative leadership, establishes goals and priorities, and invests energy, time, and resources in strategies designed to improve institutional effectiveness. The customized accreditation review process can be far-reaching. It requires a level of commitment that challenges and affects the institutional community.
Benefits of the Customized Review Process
The customized accreditation review process adds value to the accreditation review requirements of engaging in self-study and participating in peer review. A customized accreditation review
- Takes on unique features based on the flexibility that can be added to the traditional accreditation review model
- Allows the institution to tailor creative, evaluative, and developmental experiences that are compatible with its mission, goals, and priorities
- Allows the institution to focus on issues, mutually agreed upon with the Commission, it deems essential to future progress
- Invites more committed involvement from institutional constituencies
- Imbues a true sense of institutional ownership since invested efforts, energy, time, and resources represent genuine institutional commitments to achieve specific ends
- Enables the institution’s mission to shape the framework of the creative experience
- Provides outcomes that can be shared as benchmarks to others considering changes in their operations
Overview of the Process
An institution, in consultation with the Commission, may select a customized self-study model. Options include the following.
- Change request. The organization conducts a traditional self-study in seeking continued accreditation but asks that a change request be evaluated as a part of the process.
- Visits that include a specialized accrediting agency. The organization, through collaborative planning, conducts a self-study that responds to the respective criteria, standards, and processes established by the Commission and another accrediting agency recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) or the Department of Education.
- Visits with another regional accrediting agency reviewing interregional sites. If degree programs are being delivered across interregional agency boundaries, the organization conducts its self-study and, in conjunction with Commission staff, arranges for the inclusion of representatives from other regional agencies in the peer review process.
- Sequential visits. The organization conducts its self-study and, in consultation with staff, arranges for the evaluation to be conducted in a set of sequential visits. Sequential visits are used to accommodate multiple dispersed sites or address special purposes associated with the character and nature of program offerings.
The Institution’s Role
Basic factors undergird a customized accreditation review process.
- The institution is clear in identifying intended goals and priorities and expected outcomes of its customized accreditation review efforts.
- Constituents demonstrate ownership and commitment to the review focus, and vibrant and aggressive leadership is evident at all levels of administration, faculty, and staff.
- The institution shows commitment to pursuing its intended goals, priorities, and expected outcomes following the completion of the accreditation review process.
- The institution demonstrates progress in achieving its expected outcomes and displays the capacity to sustain positive change.
- The institution commits itself to following up on the special features associated with its accreditation review process, and to keeping the Commission informed about its progress.
- The institution, the Commission, and the evaluation team members work collaboratively to maximize both the evaluative and consultative dimensions of the accreditation review process.
The Commission’s Role
The Commission assists with implementation by
- Providing consultation and assistance as the organization determines its accreditation review goals, priorities, and expected outcomes
- Providing assistance in arranging for activities prior to the visit, as needed
- Selecting consultant-evaluators who have expertise in the areas of focus the organization has chosen for its review goals
- Preparing and training team members to work effectively throughout the visit and any sequential visit(s) that may be involved
- Supporting involvement in follow-up activities once the visit is completed
More detailed information about the customized accreditation review processes may be obtained by contacting the institution’s Commission staff liaison.