News from the Commission on Accreditation

Revisions to the G&P, information on site visitor corps, and acknowledgment of 12 CoA members

The Roadmap: Revising the G&P

The current “Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation” (G&P) were initially adopted in 1995 and implemented in 1996. Much has changed since then in higher education, education and training in professional psychology, and the health and mental health infrastructure in the United States. Over the years, the Commission on Accreditation (CoA) has adopted a number of implementing regulations to clarify what is expected of programs seeking either initial or continuing accreditation. Given the contextual changes since 1996 noted above and the need for greater clarity, the CoA has decided to take a fresh and thorough look at its requirements for accreditation at the doctoral, internship and postdoctoral residency levels. In moving toward a new set of standards, the CoA is mindful of the requirements for recognition by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Education and those of the Council of Higher Education Accreditation.

To guide the development of a new set of accreditation standards, the CoA has designed a “roadmap” as a four-phase process. This systematic process will rely on input from all of the relevant publics at each phase. The CoA is asking its many communities of interests to engage in open, needed discussions about standards for accreditation. The CoA will review all phase-specific input prior to creating the next wave of questions for a subsequent phase so that thorough input from the field will inform the drafting of the new set of standards. Much of the input will be requested through electronic means.

In addition, the CoA will be sending commissioners to meet in person with the training councils, and plans on holding at least one open meeting at the APA convention in 2013. The CoA wants to remind you that it seeks and appreciates input from all interested groups and organizations, as well as from individuals involved with and concerned about education and training in psychology. Visit APA Accreditation for the latest information on the G&P revision process.

Site Visitor Corps

As of Sept. 2, 2012, the CoA accredits 921 doctoral, internship and postdoctoral residency programs, making the commission one of the largest specialized accrediting bodies in the United States. Each year, the CoA performs more than 200 periodic and initial reviews for accreditation that include both internal (self-study) and external (site visit) components. Successful completion of the site visit would be impossible without the work performed by the CoA's cadre of site visitors, who are matched to programs on the basis of their current work setting, education and training background, and professional experience, among other considerations. Volunteer site visitors are critical to a peer review process that strives to ensure quality assurance in psychology education and training. To this end, specialized accreditors such as the CoA are gatekeepers to the profession and use the judgments and observations of experts in the discipline.

Such is not the case in other countries where a government ministry establishes educational standards that may or may not be promulgated by those best situated to know what is appropriate to that field. In recent years, federal oversight in higher education has been partially furthered through the accreditation process. Yet by maintaining a robust cadre of site visitors, the CoA continues to demonstrate a sound peer review process that guarantees quality and counters calls for greater governmental control. As volunteers, site visitors may participate to the extent they wish, as there is no minimum number of expected annual visits, nor are there requirements to perform specific visits.

For further information on the nomination process and eligibility requirements, please email the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation.

Transitions

The CoA wishes to acknowledge twelve members who are completing their terms of service at the end of 2012:

Six years
  • Patricia Alexander, PhD

  • Charme Davidson, PhD

  • Joyce Illfelder-Kaye, PhD 

Five years
  • Roger Peterson, PhD

  • Brad Roper, PhD

  • Richard Seime, PhD 

Three years
  • Changming Duan, PhD

  • David McIntosh, PhD

Two years
  • Michael Boroughs, PhD

  • Ana Faraci, PhD

  • Nancy Ruddy, PhD

  • Luis Vazquez, PhD

We thank them for their distinguished service to the CoA, professional psychology, the public and all of our constituents.