Review of Public Comments on Site Visitor Changes Complete

The CoA has reviewed the comments received regarding potential changes to section 3.1 of the Accreditation Operating Procedures (AOP) regarding site visitor selection and the definition of the generalist visitor for doctoral programs. In considering the comments received, which will remain posted at the Commission on Accreditation Public Comment Solicitation Program until May 14, 2008, the CoA voted not to make these changes at this time.

1) Definition of Generalist

The CoA continues to be concerned about the limited number of generalists currently available in the site visitor pool. This proposal to broaden the definition of the generalist visitor to a person outside the area of the program being visited was an attempt to alleviate that problem. Many members of the accreditation community felt strongly that generalists should continue to be individuals with expertise outside the scope of accreditation for purposes of reviewing the scientific basis of psychology in each doctoral program. While the CoA will not alter the definition of the generalist site visitor at this time, it will continue to review the issue.

CoA plans to seek new ways of recruiting generalist site visitors by offering training sessions at strategic events through mid-2009. At that time, the CoA will evaluate its success in recruiting new generalist site visitors and determine whether to again pursue changes to the definition of the generalist visitor. All programs and members of the accreditation community are encouraged to nominate new generalist site visitors and facilitate attendance of those individuals at site visitor training workshops. Information on site visitor recruitment is available at Site Visitor Information.

2) Site Visitor Selection

Regarding the issue of changes to the site visitor selection process, which would shift the responsibility for selecting visitors from the program to the CoA, the CoA voted to place this proposed change on hold until such time as the Office of Program Consultation and Accreditation has reviewed its operations using its new database. Once the CoA is confident that the new system has the appropriate level of functionality, it will again review this matter. Any proposed changes to site visitor selection procedures will include adherence to conflict of interest policies. The CoA’s goals are to make accreditation review a positive experience for programs by limiting logistical difficulties and to keep its policies in line with best practices of other accreditation bodies in the US.

3) Public Disclosure

The CoA had also posted a change to section 8 of the AOP which clarifies that the outcomes of programs applying for initial accreditation will be made public. After reviewing the comments received, the CoA voted to approve this change and recommend that the APA Board of Directors vote to accept the change as well.