I.4 The Committee on Accreditation’s structure and organization

The COA is comprised of twelve (12) members appointed by the ALA president-elect in the role of chair of the Committee on Appointments (ALA Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 2) in consultation with the Office for Accreditation. Ten members are personal members of ALA who are appointed to represent educators and practitioners. One is Canadian to represent the interests of the Canadian Library Association. Two (2) members of the COA are appointed from the public at large to represent the public interest.

A Memorandum of Understanding guides appointments in order to protect the integrity of the process.

I.4.1 Terms of appointment

Members of the COA, with the exception of the public members, are appointed for four-year staggered terms and may not be re-appointed to the committee. Only personal members of ALA are eligible for appointment.

Public members are appointed from the public at large and represent the public interest. They are appointed for two-year terms and may be re-appointed once. Public members may not be librarians or information professionals. A public member cannot have studied library and information studies; cannot be currently or formerly professionally employed in a library, information center, or related industry (for example, as a material or systems vendor); and cannot be a current or former member of the ALA or any other library association. Public members cannot be employed in an institution at which there is a program accredited by the ALA or in an institution that has a program with precandidacy or candidacy status.

The chair of the COA is appointed by the president-elect for a one-year term and may be reappointed once. When a vacancy occurs on the COA before the end of the member’s term, the ALA Executive Board appoints a replacement (ALA Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 7b).

I.4.2 Conflict of interest policy

It is the responsibility of each COA member to disclose any personal, financial, and/or professional interest that might create a conflict with that member’s ability to carry out fairly and objectively his or her responsibility as a COA member. Typical situations requiring member disclosure and COA review include: 1) current or recent employment by or consulting arrangements in fact or under discussion with an institution of higher education that offers or proposes to offer master’s degrees in library and information studies; 2) close personal relationships with individuals at institutions with an LIS program; 3) current or recent student status at an institution with an LIS program; 4) any other interest that he or she believes might prevent their objectivity or cause a reasonable person to believe he or she is biased.

Each member’s disclosure is reviewed by the COA at least once a year and also as disclosures are presented. Generally, any conflicts of interest are resolved through the member’s recusal from discussions or votes on the issue or program related to the conflict. COA may request that a member recuse himself or herself due to a disclosed conflict of interest. On a case-by-case basis, the COA may also consider and adopt additional measures to ensure that its work is not compromised by a potential or actual conflict of interest.

I.4.3    Voting by the COA

I.4.3 (a) Quorum

Seven (7) of the twelve (12) members of the COA in attendance constitutes a quorum for nonaccreditation business. Nonaccreditation decisions require a simple majority of votes cast.

Accreditation decisions require a quorum of at least eight (8) members of the COA.  An affirmative vote of two-thirds of votes cast is needed to pass a motion.

The COA chair is free to vote or abstain like other members.

I.4.3 (b) Accreditation actions

Accreditation actions refer to any decisions to initially accredit, grant precandidacy or candidacy status to, continue accreditation of, conditionally accredit, or withdraw accreditation from a program. Accreditation actions may be made only at a regularly scheduled meeting of the COA and require a quorum of at least eight (8) COA members.

A decision to accredit, grant candidacy status to, continue accreditation of, conditionally accredit, or withdraw accreditation from a program requires an affirmative vote of two-thirds of votes cast. Less than a two-thirds affirmative vote for accreditation or conditional accreditation results in denial or withdrawal of accreditation. A motion to reconsider an accreditation action requires a two-thirds affirmative vote as well.

Voting on accreditation decisions
Number of votes cast (recusals and abstentions are not counted) Number of affirmative votes required to carry motion by two-thirds
12 8
11 8
10 7
9 6
8 6
7 5
6 4
5 4
4 3
3 2


I.4.3 (c) Voting between meetings

The ALA Bylaws, Article VIII, Section 8, authorizes voting by email, conference call, and mail as long as all committee members are polled simultaneously. No accreditation actions may be made between regularly scheduled meetings, nor may accreditation votes be taken by mail, fax, or telecommunications.

I.4.3 (d) Communicating with the COA

Correspondence with the chair of the COA should be sent to the Office for Accreditation. The Office fulfills the secretarial function for the COA and maintains all its records.

Any request for action by the COA must be directed to the chair of the COA, sent care of the Office for Accreditation at least six (6) weeks before the next regular COA meeting. This time frame will enable the COA to consider the request for the agenda of the next meeting.