III.6 Site visit exit briefing
Site visits conclude with an exit briefing that is an explanation of the panel’s findings and preliminary conclusions, combined with the formalities of a courteous departure. The briefing is held with the Dean, appropriate institutional representatives (e.g., CAO, CEO), and all panel members. The Dean and the Chair agree on which university administrators will attend this meeting. Other personnel, such as faculty, may attend if the ERP Chair and the Dean deem it appropriate. The Chair leads the exit briefing, but may ask panel members to address an issue within their area of expertise.
III.6.1 Purpose of the exit briefing
The exit briefing:
- Allows the panel to present an overview of its findings and preliminary conclusions;
- Offers a final opportunity for the panel to verify or obtain information;
- Offers an opportunity for institutional representatives to ask questions;
- Allows the ERP and institutional representatives to enjoy a collegial conclusion of the visit.
The exit briefing is not, however:
- A time for panel members and the Dean to argue or to raise objections to the panel's tentative conclusions;
- An occasion for the panel, Dean, or administrators to “discover” important information about the program or panel’s findings.
III.6.2 Content of the exit briefing
The panel meets before the exit briefing to determine content and identify specific topics to address. The Chair should then meet with the Dean to alert him or her to the areas that will be covered in the exit briefing, particularly regarding any concerns of the panel.
The Chair needs to be careful to signal any possible problems or areas of concern and not gloss over them simply to offer temporary harmony during the exit briefing. The Chair and panel should not give the impression in this meeting that no problems were found and then identify important problems or concerns in the panel’s written report.
The exit briefing should include the following, in this suggested order:
- Brief thanks to the head of the program, faculty, institutional representatives, and all those who met with the panel;
- Description of the purpose of the exit briefing, emphasizing that this is a summary of the panel’s preliminary findings and tentative conclusions. Final statements cannot be made until all material is organized, reviewed, and incorporated into the written report;
- Statement that the panel submits its report to the COA and that the COA, not the panel, makes the final accreditation decision;
- Summary of what will happen after the panel leaves:
- The ERP Chair will send a draft of the ERP report to the program and the Office for Accreditation,
- The program may then respond with corrections to factual errors in the draft ERP report,
- The ERP Chair will submit the final ERP report to the program and to the COA via the Office for Accreditation,
- The program has the option of submitting a written response to the panel and to the COA,
- The Dean and ERP Chair will meet with COA at the next ALA conference to answer the Committee’s questions,
- The COA will make the accreditation decision;
- Summary of program strengths;
- Discussion of areas of concern as preliminarily identified by the panel. Reiterate that these are preliminary, that the program will have opportunities to respond to the panel’s report, and that COA will make the final decision;
- Review of program strengths and areas for improvement. Emphasize that these are observations to provide a sense of the visiting panel’s impressions, but are neither final nor comprehensive.