Public disclosure of accreditation decisions
Prompted by direction from the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), CoA considered options for enhancing the content of information provided to the public regarding decisions on accreditation status. Currently, CoA reports accredited status and year of next site visit on its website and describes the guidelines for 3, 5 and 7 year decisions in its Notice of Actions published 30 days following each program review meeting. Although CoA was granted continued recognition in January 2013, CHEA reiterated an interpretation of its standards that insists on specific information regarding the basis for accreditation decisions. As a result, CoA developed possible options out for public comment this past spring.
At the July meeting, CoA, informed by the public comments received, approved the following option consistent with CHEA’s requirements. On its website, CoA will include the following summary for each accredited program in the lists of accredited programs:
“At its meeting on [Date], the APA Commission on Accreditation voted to approve continued accreditation of the [Clinical, Counseling, School, combined, internship, or postdoctoral residency] [PhD or PsyD, if applicable] program at [institution], with the next site visit scheduled [3/5/7 or X years for programs on “accredited, on probation” status assuming no appeal] years from the date of the program’s last site visit. The [number of years granted or decision to grant “accredited, on probation”] is based on the CoA’s professional judgment [of/that] [insert guideline from below].”
- 7 Year Guideline: [compliance or substantial compliance with all domains of the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation (G&P). No serious deficiencies.]
- 5 Year Guideline: [multiple minor deficiencies exist and/or deficiencies have been recently corrected.]
- 3 Year Guideline: [program resource concerns, instability and/or serious deficiencies remain, but can be corrected in the near future (minor deficiencies typically addressed in the next self-study.)]
- Probation: [the accredited program is not consistent with the Guidelines and Principles for Accreditation (G&P) and may have its accreditation revoked. Prior to this designation, a program is provided an opportunity to show cause why it should not be placed on probation by providing a written response to the issues of concern. A program not coming into compliance within two (2) CoA meetings after the show cause notice is assigned “accredited, on probation” status. This status is appealable within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the CoA decision. Although it is an accredited status, “accredited, on probation” is considered by the CoA to be an adverse action that serves as notice to the program, its students/interns/residents and the public that in the professional judgment of the CoA the accredited program is not consistent with the G&P.
Additionally, CoA intends to integrate these changes concurrent with the launch of a dynamic and searchable database of accredited programs on the accreditation website. Prospective students, faculty and the public, will be able to identify programs on the basis of a number of criteria (e.g., geographic location, degree offered, substantive area, etc.). The changes will be introduced early in 2014, pending final approval of complementary changes to the Accreditation Operating Procedures (AOP).