American Speech-Language-Hearing Association

Council on Academic Accreditation in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology

IV. Candidacy Site Visit and Report

Candidacy Manual

Purpose | Candidacy Site Visit Team | Scheduling the Visit | Preparation for the Visit | Agenda | Conducting the Visit | Required Meetings | Suggested Interview Topics |
Candidacy Site Visit Report

Purpose of the Site Visit

The purposes of the candidacy site visit are to:

  • verify accuracy of information provided in the application and resolve questions/concerns that arose from review of the application
  • directly observe program resources and space on campus and interact with program leadership
  • document that compliance with accreditation standards was verified, consistent with CAA's expectations to award candidacy
  • facilitate CAA's decision-making for new programs by providing a written report of the visit

The CAA employs its Standards Compliance Continuum to outline the expectations for the program's progress towards compliance with all Standards for Accreditation over time. Evidence of comprehensive and achievable planning must be addressed in the candidacy application in order for the program to progress in its review. Although a program is not expected to be in compliance with all standards, the candidacy site visit and subsequent report will document the program's progress in its development which the Council will consider when making its final decision whether to award candidacy.

Candidacy Site Visit Team

The candidacy site visit team will consist of three visitors, two academic members and one practitioner member, in the same area of study/profession as the applicant program. One of the academic members will serve as the chair of the team. In instances where applications are received for both professional areas, a team would be assembled with one academic member and one practitioner member from each area.

Eligibility & Selection

The Council has developed a process for selection and training of a select corps of experienced site visitors to support the CAA's review process of applicant programs for candidacy status. In addition to meeting the qualifications to serve as a CAA site visitor outlined in the CAA's Site Visit Manual, an individual selected to serve as a candidacy site visitor also must meet the following conditions:

  • is a current member of the CAA Site Visitor Pool
  • has a minimum of 2 years' experience as a site visitor
  • has a positive evaluative record as a site visitor
  • possesses skills to support a candidacy site visit, e.g., sensitivity/understanding of unique qualities of developing programs
  • Academic members must have chaired at least 2 regular accreditation visits
  • Additional desirable skills/attributes include:
    • ability to maintain schedule/responsive to time lines
    • developed organizational skills
    • ability to facilitate a constructive review of program
    • flexibility to shift expectations of review from verifying 'compliance'—as would be the case in a standard visit to accredited programs—to a more 'developmental' approach in reviewing an applicant program

Training & Evaluation

All candidacy site visitors would be required to complete a training workshop for candidacy site visits prior to assignment in this capacity. All individuals would still be part of the regular site visitor pool and participate in accreditation site visits, however priority would be given to scheduling and participation in candidacy site visits. All candidacy site visitors would be evaluated consistent with CAA's policy on the selection, training, and evaluation of site visitors and would be provided feedback about their performance.

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Scheduling the Visit

The candidacy site visit is typically scheduled to occur within one semester from the date of official application as part of the Council's review and decision on the program's application. The length of the visit is 1½ to 2 days, depending on the complexity of the applicant program. The candidacy site visit must be completed within one year of the date of CAA's acceptance of the official candidacy application. Requests for any postponement must be submitted in writing to the CAA for its consideration.

After the official application has been acknowledged, the Accreditation Office staff will forward the applicant program a list of candidacy site visitors and request that the program identify any persons with whom the program has a conflict of interest. The program must provide two sets of possible dates for the visit, during which the program director and key administrators would be available to meet with the candidacy site visit team. When proposing the visit dates, programs must consider elapsed time for a public comment period, the submission of the program's response to the CAA's initial observations, and for an agenda to be developed in consultation with the team. Upon receipt of the program-reviewed list of potential visitors and available dates, a team will be assigned and notification sent to the program director.

Travel Arrangements and Expenses

After a site visit has been scheduled, the Accreditation Office sends site visitors detailed information regarding travel arrangements and expenses. Site visitors are responsible for making their own travel arrangements with ASHA's official travel agency. Site visitors are encouraged to finalize travel arrangements, in coordination with the team, at least two weeks prior to the visit. The program director is responsible for making and confirming hotel reservations for the site visitors. Before the visit, the program director and site visitors should be in communication regarding arrival and departure times. During the site visit, team members are responsible for their own expenses, including hotel costs; they are subsequently reimbursed consistent with ASHA's travel policy. Site visitors should not accept meals from or provide meals to instructional staff of the institution being visited. (An exception would be an instructional staff luncheon meeting.)

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Preparation for the Visit

The candidacy site visitors assigned to the team are provided a copy of the program's official application, CAA's initial observations, the program's response to these observations, and any written public comment in advance of the visit. At least 30 days prior to the time the candidacy site visit is conducted, the program must submit a response to any CAA initial observations that are identified as requiring a response prior to the candidacy site visit. Additional information also may be submitted at this time. These materials will be forwarded to the candidacy site visit team, the Council chair and reviewers, and a copy will be placed in the master file at the National Office as part of the program record. The program should be prepared to discuss all initial observations with the candidacy site visit team at the time of the site visit.

Public Comment/Public Meeting

The CAA provides the opportunity for public comment regarding the program to be site visited, as fully described in CAA's Policy and Procedures on Public Comment. The CAA publishes on the ASHA website the list of programs that have submitted application for candidacy, initial accreditation and reaccreditation during that calendar year for which CAA is seeking public comment as part of its current accreditation review of the published programs. The listing will include the dates of the scheduled site visit for each program.

In addition, the program director must ensure that the candidacy site visit is announced to the public in a timely manner so that faculty, administrators, students, clients, community professionals, and the general public have the opportunity to address the candidacy site visit team. The program has the discretion to determine its community of interest, and to advertise the public meeting through appropriate campus, local, or regional mechanisms. The program must widely publish an announcement regarding this meeting no later than fifteen (15) days prior to the site visit.

Individuals who wish to provide input about a program seeking candidacy (preaccreditation), initial CAA accreditation, or about a CAA-accredited program seeking reaccreditation may do so in two ways:

a) by submitting written comments prior to the accreditation site visit in accordance with the procedures specified in the Public Comment policy; all comments about education programs are due in the Accreditation Office no later than fifteen (15) days before the first day of the scheduled site visit; or
b) by providing comments during the program's scheduled site visit.

All comments provided must:

  • relate to a program's compliance with the published Standards for Accreditation of Graduate Education Programs in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (Standards), effective January 1, 2008;
  • identify the specific program seeking candidacy, initial accreditation, or reaccreditation with the CAA.

A full description of the procedures for submitting comments is available online. Both written and oral comments will be considered during any portion of the site visit, provided they meet the criteria specified in the policy.

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Site Visit Agenda and Time Allocation

The agenda typically will include opportunities for the team to:

  • discuss with program director and any instructional or clinical staff the academic and clinical aspects of the program
  • confer with the institution's administrators concerning their attitudes toward and plans for the program
  • inspect the program's physical facilities (classrooms, labs, clinical space)
  • review course materials, syllabi, forms, etc.
  • facilitate the public meeting scheduled by the program director at which instructional staff, administration, students, and the general public may comment on the program or institution.

The program is expected to prepare a draft agenda and provide it to the chair of the candidacy site visit team at least 30 days before the scheduled visit. The suggested times for arranging the agenda are from 8:00am to 5:00pm on both days, although the second day may end prior to that time depending on the complexity of the program and visit. An hour should be built in for lunch and two 15-minute breaks. The team and the program director should identify exact start and end times to allow for sufficient time to complete interviews, provide the exit report on the last day, and facilitate departure times of the team members. Evenings before and during the site visit are typically considered working time for the site visit team and all members are expected to participate.

Interviews with central administration are best deferred until a time during the visit after opportunity to complete interviews and review materials, which will allow the site visit team members to ask more focused questions when meeting with administrators. The team may divide activities and responsibilities for interviews, record reviews, etc. equitably when possible. Both team members should be scheduled to interview members of the central administration, e.g. the dean, provost, and/or president.

Acting on behalf of the site visit team, the chair may request changes in the agenda before the team's arrival or request relevant materials be made available, but should make such requests in a timely fashion. Candidacy site visitors should carefully review the agenda before the site visit so that, when necessary, the schedule can be adjusted to allow sufficient time for the critical initial interview and exit report and for all activities necessary for data gathering. Generally, the agenda should have sufficient latitude to allow for changes that may seem essential during the conduct of the site visit.

Evening Before the Site Visit

The site visitors are expected to hold a planning session the evening before the site visit. If additional changes in the agenda are required, they can be arranged with the program director at the beginning of the site visit. The site visitors should use this evening to:

  • discuss the agenda;
  • outline the responsibilities and assignments of each site visitor;
  • review targeted areas of the program's application;
  • identify areas needing more thorough review;
  • review the names of the administrators and faculty listed in the program's application; and
  • arrange to confer with one another periodically throughout the visit.

Suggested Activities for the First Day of the Visit

  • Conduct entrance interview with program director and others as appropriate
  • Make short tour of program facilities
  • Meet with department chair if different than program director
  • Meet with dean(s), provost
  • Meet with academic and clinical faculty and staff, if applicable
  • Meet with undergraduate students, if applicable
  • Meet with departmental support staff
  • Review course materials and other source data
  • Facilitate public meeting

Evening of First Day

  • Review data gathered during the day
  • Organize the report format
  • Review initial observations generated by the CAA

Suggested Activities for the Second Day of the Visit

  • Meet with institution's president or designee
  • Follow-up meeting with program director or other faculty/ staff
  • Phone/meet with off-campus supervisors/practicum sites
  • Conduct additional record or resource review, if necessary
  • Prepare for exit report
  • Conduct exit report session with program director and others she/he may wish to invite

Sample Candidacy Site Visit Agenda

 

Day One

Site Visitor 1: Academic

Site Visitor 2: Practitioner

  8:00 – 8:15 Travel to Campus Travel to Campus
  8:15 – 8:25 Brief intro to all faculty Brief intro to all faculty
2 hrs 8:25 – 10:15 Meeting with Program Director Meeting with Program Director
30 min 10:15 – 10:45 Meeting with Department Chair Meeting with Department Chair
30 min 10:45 – 11:20 Tour Physical Facilities (Clinical and Classroom) / Break Tour Physical Facilities (Clinical and Classroom) / Break
30 min 11:20 – 11:40 Faculty C Faculty D
30 min 11:40 – 12:00 Clinic Director/Clinical Faculty (if any) Clinical Faculty (if any)
  12:00 – 1:15 Working Lunch/Team Meeting Working Lunch/Team Meeting
  1:15 – 1:30 Travel to Dean's Office Travel to Dean's Office
1 hr 1:30 – 2:30 Dean Meeting Dean Meeting
30 min 2:30 – 3:00 Provost or President Meeting Provost or President Meeting
  3:00 – 3:15 Travel to Department Travel to Department
30 min 3:15 – 3:45 Undergraduate Students Undergraduate Students
30 min 3:45 – 4:00 Departmental Support Staff Call Supervisors/Adjunct Faculty
30 min 4:00 – 4:30 Public Meeting Public Meeting
Rest of day 4:30 – 5:30 Break/Resource Material Review Break/Complete phone calls/Resource Material Review
  5:30 Travel to Hotel Travel to Hotel
       
 

Day Two

   
  8:00 – 8:15 Travel to Campus Travel to Campus
1–2 hrs 8:15 – 10:00 Follow-Up Meeting with Program Director and others as necessary Follow-Up Meeting with Program Director and others as necessary
2 hrs 10:00 – 12:00 Document review; prepare exit report Document review; prepare exit report
1 hr 12:00 – 1:00 Lunch Lunch
1–2 hrs 1:00 – 3:00 Exit Report Exit Report
  3:00 Depart for Airport Depart for Airport

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Conducting the Site Visit

General principles and best practices for conducting the site visit can be found in the CAA's Site Visit Manual.

Candidacy site visitors should maintain an open and objective attitude and should avoid expressing their personal philosophies about graduate education. Candidacy site visitors also must avoid comparing the applicant program with their own programs.

Internal matters of concern to a program may arise in the course of interviews. The site visitors should consider only matters that may influence the ability of the program to comply with the standards and to fully implement its development plan. If internal program problems are raised, the site visitors must avoid being drawn into mediation. They should record and report to the CAA only factual information and refrain from drawing conclusions or recommending solutions to issues not related to compliance with standards.

Although much of the candidacy site visit time is taken up with interviews with key persons associated with the new graduate program, considerable data can and must be gathered through direct observation of facilities and/or from review of relevant records and printed or electronic documents. Some suggestions for gathering information about the program's progress towards compliance with each CAA Standard are provided in the Sources of Data [PDF] table in the CAA's Site Visit Manual. Keep in mind that compliance with all standards is not required at the time of award of candidacy, so some aspects of the program may not yet be implemented—but most if not all—should be planned or developed by the time of the candidacy site visit.

Conducting Interviews

All interviews and meetings have certain common purposes and should be guided by basic principles of timeliness, confidentiality, and efficient information gathering. All candidacy site visit interviews are conducted with one or more of the following purposes in mind, to:

  • verify information contained in the application;
  • clarify information contained in the application;
  • obtain information not included in the application; and/or
  • clarify information that may be discrepant.

Planning the Interviews

When the site visitors meet on the eve of the site visit, the team should develop strategies for carrying out interviews in the most efficient and diplomatic manner. The site visit team is encouraged to generate specific questions for each interview, and plans should be made to repeat some questions in several interviews for reliability and to triangulate the data gathered.

Because the team knows in advance whom it will interview, it can set goals for each interview. For example, when interviewing the dean or president, the site visit team should determine if the program has autonomy for professional decisions, whether the program has adequate financial resources, and if there are ready channels of communication. When interviewing instructional staff, the site visit team should explore such areas as faculty workload, input to curricular planning, accessibility of the program director, and continuing education policy. An interview with office administrative staff might confirm information about such matters as clinic operations and maintenance of records.

Thoughtful preparation will give site visitors the orientation they need to conduct each interview effectively. A review of the sources of data for each standard later in this chapter will assist the site visit team in prioritizing the goals for each interview.

A statement about the importance of confidentiality during interviews with faculty and other individuals should be professed in the initial interview and reasserted in all subsequent meetings. Candidacy site visitors must be able to meet with individuals without the program director. Individuals being interviewed should be free to speak candidly.

Content of Interviews

Candidacy site visitors should briefly make introductions, make a statement about the importance of confidentiality during interviews, answer any questions the interviewee(s) may have and proceed with their own questioning. The manner of questioning should direct the interviewee to provide information pertinent to the site visit and to the CAA. Site visitors should ask open-ended questions whenever possible.

Recording the Interviews

Note-taking is an integral part of the interview process and is crucial to ensuring an accurate report. Record the name and position of each person interviewed together with their comments. Discrepancies in reports on specific issues should be recorded and, if possible, resolved before the end of the site visit. Visitors may wish to keep personal notes for reference after the visit. The site visit team will be asked to comment, as appropriate, on the program's response to the site visit report.

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Required Meetings and Activities

Candidacy site visitors should be aware that certain interviews and meetings are particularly crucial in defining the roles of the team and the purpose of the candidacy site visit. These interviews, which are discussed in greater detail below, include:

  • initial interview with the program director;
  • orientation meeting with faculty and staff, if included in the agenda;
  • public meeting; and
  • exit report session.

Initial Interview with Program Director

This initial interview is crucial in establishing the proper professional relationship and tone for the candidacy site visit. Site visitors should explain the purpose of the site visit and their roles as CAA candidacy site visitors. The primary purpose of the visit is to verify the information given in the program's candidacy application. A site visitor's role is not that of personal evaluator; it is to collect information related to the CAA standards. Site visitors should clarify that they are not present to give advice, to judge, or to make decisions about whether the program is awarded candidacy. Site visitors should indicate that there will be an exit report session to indicate their findings related to the program's progress towards compliance with the CAA's accreditation standards and that a full written report of the candidacy site visit will be mailed to the program director and the university's president, or designee, within 6 weeks after the site visit.

Next, candidacy site visitors should review selected portions of the application with the program director. Site visitors should indicate areas that will need additional information or more specificity. In addition, site visitors should indicate that more than one interview with faculty members or other interviewees may be necessary to clarify the program operation and plans.

Orientation Meeting with Faculty and Staff

Faculty and staff should be oriented to the purpose of the visit, either by attending the candidacy site visitors' initial interview with the program director or in a separate orientation meeting. The program director should be encouraged to invite all faculty members (or as many as possible) to this orientation. The site visit chair, who conducts this orientation, should review the purpose of the site visit and the roles of the candidacy site visitors, again emphasizing that the team is not there to give advice, to judge, or to make decisions about accreditation. The site visit chair should review the final agenda for the candidacy site visit, answer questions, and announce the exit report session to be held at the end of the visit.

Public Meeting

The CAA provides opportunity for any member of the public to provide comment about the applicant program. Comments must be provided in accordance with the CAA's Policy on Public Comment [PDF]. This includes an opportunity for the members of the public to meet with the candidacy site visit team during their visit to campus. For new programs, attendees may include undergraduate students, faculty from other programs on campus, individuals from the campus or surrounding community. For additional information, please review the Public Comment/Pubic Meeting under Preparing for the Visit, above.

Exit Report

At the close of the second day of the site visit, the candidacy site visit team must meet with the program director and any faculty, staff, or university personnel the program director may invite. The primary objective of this session is to provide an oral report of the findings of the site visit team as they relate to the program's compliance with the accreditation standards, as outlined in the Standards Compliance Continuum.

There are four components to this session: (1) Summary of Findings, (2) Review of Program Strengths and Limitations, (3) Recommendations for Program Development and Improvement, and (4) Consultation (optional). The site visitors should review the program's strengths, limitations, and areas for improvement that will be noted in the site visit report and as they relate to the standards; however, they must not express any opinion about accreditation decisions. The site visit team should complete an Accreditation Standards Inventory, found in Appendix D, prior to the exit report for the program being reviewed, i.e. master's in speech-language pathology or clinical doctorate in audiology. This form should indicate the team's observations and ability to verify the program's expected compliance with standards. All site visit team members must sign the Accreditation Standards Inventory, which is then appended to the written candidacy site visit report.

The candidacy site visit report should not reflect the substance of the fourth component of the exit report session, consultation. It is important that the participants in the exit report be aware of the distinct separation between the report of the team's observations to verify compliance with standards, and the optional consultative component.

The program director should be reminded that the CAA welcomes suggestions for the improvement of the accreditation process. The program director should be urged to complete the Site Visitor Performance Feedback Survey as soon as possible after the site visit. Accreditation Staff will provide a link to that online survey.

The candidacy site visit team should make every effort to leave the following impressions:

  • The site visitors were professional, friendly, well-prepared peers who thoroughly reviewed the program to confirm the information given in the application.
  • The site visitors were methodical, maintained their schedule, and caused minimal interruption in the program's regular activities.
  • The site visitors were impartial observers who were not abrupt, accusative, or argumentative and who did not give personal advice about or offer criticism of the program.

Following the candidacy site visit, a site visitor may not discuss, either orally or in writing, the site visit with individuals (including representatives of the program) outside of (a) Accreditation Office staff who work with the CAA, (b) the chair of the CAA (or designated Council member), or (c) members of that site visit team. Questions about the candidacy site visit should be directed to the chair of the CAA.

Representatives

The candidacy site visit team should ensure interviews are scheduled with the following representatives from the institution and/or applicant program, as applicable:

  1. Program Director
  2. Department Chair (if different)
  3. Director of Clinical Services
  4. All faculty
  5. Dean of College
  6. Dean of Graduate School
  7. Provost

Resource Materials

Resource materials are a critical source to support a program's development and progress towards compliance with all accreditation standards and necessary preparation for graduate students to enroll. The following list of materials should be made available to the candidacy site visit team during the visit:

  1. Department/program/graduate student/clinical/ handbooks
  2. Course syllabi/curriculum sequence and offerings
  3. Graduate Catalog, if available
  4. Assessment plan/activities for student learning outcomes and program goals and objectives
  5. Student files (forms) for academic and clinical assessment and monitoring of progress through the program
  6. Line items budget
  7. Faculty vitae
  8. Faculty/Instructional staff Table
  9. Faculty/program administrator/s evaluation procedures and policies
  10. Tenure statement and policies
  11. Off-campus clinical agreements/contracts
  12. Program's technology support
  13. Calibration contracts for all equipment
  14. Library resources and holdings
  15. Organizational chart

Physical Facilities

A tour of the physical facilities must be included on the agenda. The candidacy site visit team should have access to the following during the tour:

  1. Overall office, classroom, clinical space re: handicapped accessibility, adequacy, and size
  2. Staff support space
  3. Clinical space and materials
  4. Research and clinical equipment
  5. Space for student's academic and clinical files
  6. Library facilities and accessibility

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Suggested Questions/Topics in Data Gathering during a Candidacy Site Visit

(To be used where appropriate)

President/Provost

  • Regional accreditation status
  • Financial support of the program
  • Communication channels and mechanisms
  • Plans for the development and maintenance of the program
  • Clarification of the relationship of the university and program missions
  • Institution's Strategic Plan and program's relationship to it
  • What priority does this program have in the college, university?
  • Advocacy for specific program needs, as appropriate

Dean

  • Authority of the program director
  • Budgetary items (e.g., equipment, salaries)
  • Future plans
  • Qualifications and Leadership of program director
  • Plans/procedures for evaluating program director
  • Program's authority/role in academic planning
  • Program's access to higher levels of administration
  • How equitable treatment expectations are communicated to faculty
  • Advocacy for specific program needs, as appropriate
  • Targeted enrollment goals
  • Faculty workload expectations
  • Plans for faculty's continuing professional development
  • Policies for student complaints

Program Director/Department Chair

Administrative Structure and Governance

  • Program mission
  • Long Range Plan/Strategic Plan and relationship to institution's plan
  • Dissemination of strategic plan
  • Organization chart
  • Personnel decisions: how made, by whom
  • Problems: lines of authority for problem resolution
  • Program's authority/role in academic planning
  • Program's access to higher levels of administration
  • How equitable treatment expectations are communicated to faculty
  • Location of current program information for the public

Faculty

  • Planned and existing faculty and status of ongoing searches
  • Planned responsibilities of existing and planned staff
  • Qualifications of existing staff
  • Plans for future faculty/staff hires
  • Faculty workload expectations
  • Plans for faculty's continuing professional development

Curriculum

  • Plans for covering curriculum
  • Planned curriculum & course sequence
  • Prepares students for full breadth and depth of scope of practice
  • Students exposed to range of disorders, work settings & clinical experiences
  • How students meet pre-requisite requirements: basic sciences, basic communication processes
  • Knowledge and skills mapped into curriculum
  • Consistent with program's mission and goals
  • Assessment of oral and written communication skills
  • Planned procedures for counting, recording & verifying clock hours
  • Plans for clinic operations, decisions: how made, by whom
  • Written agreements with clinical facilities
  • Plans for distance education and/or satellite programs
  • Planned procedures at distant/satellite sites
  • Research infused into curriculum
  • Tracks
  • Information re ethics, legal & safety issues
  • Responsibilities and procedures for external placements

Students

  • Targeted enrollment goals
  • Graduate admission criteria
  • Adaptations for diversity
  • Informed of degree & credential requirements
  • Policies for student complaints
  • Advising plans & procedures (including distance/satellite)
  • Verify credits and academic requirements required for degree
  • Student record keeping procedures and responsibilities
  • Equivalent treatment across distance/satellite
  • Verifying student identity policy and procedures if offering distance education courses

Assessment

  • Development, validation, and assess student learning outcomes
  • Congruence of outcomes with program mission
  • Planned mechanisms to evaluate achievement of program goals: formative & summative
  • Plans for documenting student progress
  • Plans for remediation
  • Plans to assess quality, currency and effectiveness of academic and clinical instruction
  • Plans for program evaluation/quality assurance mechanisms

Program Resources

  • Budget
  • Facilities (existing and planned)
  • Equipment & materials (existing and planned)
  • Clerical, technical support staff and services
  • Technology & library resources

Instructional Staff

  • Development and validation of program goals
  • Budget adequacy
  • Awareness of Strategic Plan
  • Program's authority/role in academic planning
  • Program's access to higher levels of administration
  • Planned teaching and supervision loads
  • Clarity of responsibilities
  • Planned clinical service and supervisory responsibilities
  • Planned instructional responsibilities
  • Research responsibilities/opportunities
  • Community relationships
  • Adequacy of existing and planned equipment
  • Plans for program evaluation/quality assurance mechanisms
  • Qualifications
  • Salaries
  • Planned curriculum and clinical mechanisms for addressing multicultural diversity and life span issues
  • Faculty workload expectations
  • Planned curriculum & course sequence
  • Students exposed to range of disorders, work settings & clinical experiences
  • Student access to info on multicultural issues
  • Knowledge and skills mapped into curriculum
  • Research infused into curriculum?
  • Accommodations for special needs
  • Student learning outcomes developed, validated, and assessed
  • Verifying student identity policy and procedures if offering distance education courses

Clinic Director (if available)

  • Potential supervisors identified?
  • Planned mechanisms for verifying supervisor's credentials
  • Plans for counting, verifying and recording clock hours
  • Access to clients across the lifespan and disability categories
  • Written agreements with clinical facilities
  • Plans for coordinating, monitoring and evaluating clinical education
  • Accommodations for special needs

Clinic Supervisors (if available)

  • Anticipated role in the program
  • Awareness of Strategic Plan
  • Clinical facilities (planned and existing)
  • Plans for supervision and evaluation of students
  • Personnel: instructional staff rank, contract, merit
  • Workload expectations

Off Site Supervisors (if available)

  • Relationship to program/affiliation agreements
  • Plans for student placements
  • Number of potential supervisors on site
  • Qualifications of potential supervisors
  • Types of experiences available on site
  • Relationship with instructional staff and administration
  • Other assessment plans

Undergraduate Students (if available)

  • Nature of program communications about academic progress, program offerings, graduation rates and requirements
  • Quality of instruction (how measured)
  • Materials, equipment available
  • Access to instructional staff
  • Participation on clinical experiences
  • Frequency and quality of supervision
  • Facilities
  • Suggestions for change or improvement

Support Staff

  • Communication lines
  • Responsibilities

Problems During the Site Visit

On rare occasions, site visitors encounter special problems that limit them or prevent them from completing the site visit in the required manner. In all such cases, the site visit chair should discontinue the site visit and should call the chair of the CAA immediately to describe the problem and to have a course of action authorized. If the chair of the CAA is unavailable, the site visit chair should contact another CAA member designated to act on behalf of the chair in such matters. The CAA contact information is provided to the team before the site visit.

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Candidancy Site Visit Report

Purposes of the Site Visit Report

  • For the candidacy site visitors, the report provides a means of documenting findings and of recording comments and factual data.
  • For the CAA, the candidacy site visit report documents the verification of application materials and addresses CAA's initial observations noted from its review of the candidacy application, so that a decision regarding candidacy status can be reached.
  • For the program, the candidacy site visit report provides a summary of the findings of the site visit team relative to each Standard for Accreditation, as well as noted strengths and limitations. A copy of the report is also sent to the president of the institution, or designee.

Writing the Site Visit Report

It is suggested that the site visitors prepare a rough draft of the candidacy site visit report in the evening and at unscheduled times during the site visit. Ordinarily, the site visit chair facilitates the writing of the candidacy site visit report. However, the report may be written in separate parts by members of the site visit team and then combined, or it may be drafted entirely by one member of the team. In all cases, the report must be edited by the team and approved and signed by each site visitor before it is submitted to the CAA. A site visit report template is available electronically to the members of the site visit team through the Accreditation Collaborate site as well as provided as an appendix to this manual (Appendix C [PDF]). Site visitors are required to complete and submit to the CAA after the visit a site visit review worksheet, available through the Accreditation Collaborate site for site visitors, which is an additional resource to use in evaluating the program.

Because a program applying for candidacy status must document its progress towards meeting all standards, it is essential that the candidacy site visit report include statements addressing each standard. The candidacy site visit report must follow the outline given in the next section (Format of the Report).

The report must clearly differentiate between conclusions based on factual evidence and conclusions based on impressions. The CAA's final decision as to whether to award candidacy to a program is based, in part, on documentation provided by the site visit team. Accreditation decisions are solely the responsibility of the CAA.

Although site visitors may be asked their opinions on how to remedy a problem or to suggest improvements, it would be inappropriate to include any elements in the site visit report. This aspect of the site visit should only be provided by request of the program and after the conclusion of the exit report.

The candidacy site visit report should supplement and validate the information given in the application and other information provided in advance of and/or at the time of the site visit, such as any updates on filling open faculty lines.

Candidacy site visit reports are sent to the institution's president, or president's designee, and to the program director, substantially as written by the candidacy site visitors. Although a written copy of the report is not left with the program at the close of the site visit, it is imperative that the report be accurate, complete, carefully written, and adequately proofread. In addition to the behavior of the candidacy site visit team, the candidacy site visit report is the tangible product on which the program and the institution will judge the quality of the evaluation process.

Format of the Report

A report template can be found in Appendix C and also will be provided electronically to the chair of the visit in advance of the site visit. The written report must be prepared using word processing software, and the final report should be submitted electronically to the Accreditation Office, along with all paper copies of appendices. Pages must be numbered.

The report should indicate how and if the site visitors could verify evidence of a program's expected compliance with each standard. As has been noted, the report should also address each of the initial observations raised by the CAA.

The CAA has indicated the expected level of compliance within the report template consistent with the expectations listed in the column, "CAA's award of candidacy" on the Standards Compliance Continuum. The team must consider these conditions when indicating whether they could verify the program's progress and achievement for each standard. The CAA developed the following key to represent the expected level of compliance with each standard at each stage of review:

P = Compliance with the standard is planned and a timeline is established for meeting compliance expectations
I = Plan is implemented; compliance expectations met
M = Plan is implemented and compliance maintained; program improvements have been initiated

The format for the report follows.

Introduction

This section should include a description of the institution, local environment, including multiple campuses or distance technologies as part of the review, and provide a summary of the individuals interviewed by the team, including titles of administrators and faculty, as well as a demographic description of the group interviews. Student and client names should not be included in the site visit report or its appendices to protect their confidentiality; rather demographic summary data should be provided. If an observer accompanies the team, the individual's name and affiliation should be recorded in this section of the report.

I. Site Visit Team Observations
  • Administrative Structure and Governance (Standards 1.1–1.7)
  • Faculty (Standards 2.1–2.3)
  • Curriculum [Academic and Clinical Education]
    • in Audiology (Standards 3.1A–3.7A)
    • in Speech-Language Pathology (Standards 3.1B–3.7B)
  • Students (Standards 4.1–4.5)
  • Assessment (Standards 5.1–5.4)
  • Program Resources (Standards 6.1–6.4)
II. Verification of Public Comment/Public Meeting Announcement

Appendices

  1. Accreditation Standards Inventory – Candidacy
  2. Site Visit Agenda
  3. Public Meeting Announcement

For site visits that include review of programs in both professional areas, the report should include observations for Curriculum in Audiology (3.0A) and Curriculum in Speech-Language Pathology (3.0B), presented as separate sections.

The Accreditation Standards Inventory – Candidacy [PDF] (Appendix D in this Manual) must be completed and signed by each site visitor and attached to the candidacy site visitor report.

Materials that are collected by the site visitors during the course of the visit should be submitted as appendices to the report. Examples include agenda, student or clinical tracking forms, curriculum vitae of new faculty member, etc.

Submitting and Processing the Site Visit Report

All members of the site visit team will have access to the draft report through the Accreditation Collaborate site and may continue to use that site to edit the report and post any related electronic documents, including the team's site visit review worksheet (internal use only). The candidacy site visit report must follow the format outlined above. The Accreditation Office must receive the site visit report no later than 30 calendar days after the visit. The site visit chair will announce to the Accreditation Office staff when the final draft is available for review by the CAA chair and staff. The site visit chair must forward to the Accreditation Office the signed cover sheet, signed Accreditation Standards Inventory – Candidacy; and any additional appendices that could not be posted electronically to the Accreditation Collaborate site.

Lengthy delays in the preparation of the report must be avoided. Such delays may result in inaccurate reporting of observations and/or in the loss of important information. Site visitors should remember that the candidacy site visit report becomes a part of the documentary file for the program and that the CAA cannot act on a program's candidacy application until it receives the candidacy site visit report.

The Accreditation Office forwards the site visit report to the CAA chair for review. The Accreditation Office then forwards a copy of the candidacy site visit report within 10 business days of receiving it to the program director, with a copy to the institution's president or president's designee, for the program's response.

The program's written response to the candidacy site visit report must be sent to the Accreditation Office within 30 days of the date on which the report was mailed to the program director. The program director's comments concerning the candidacy site visit report are sent to the site visit team for any further response.

The CAA reviews the candidacy application, the program's response to the CAA's initial observations, the candidacy site visit report, the program's response to the report, and any site visitor comments and makes a final decision whether to award candidacy status. The CAA sends a letter to the program director and the institution's president or president's designee notifying them of the CAA's decision within 30 days of its decision. In addition, in order to provide candidacy site visitors with ongoing training and opportunities for self-assessment, CAA's final decision and rationale regarding the applicant program will be provided to the individuals who conducted that program's site visit on behalf of the CAA, with a request to not disclose any of the information that is not otherwise made public.

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