I.19 Types of reviews
Each program seeking continued or initial accreditation must undergo periodic review by the COA. The two types of reviews are as follows:
The COA will schedule a comprehensive review for each program on a regular basis. The preparation for and completion of the process extends over approximately two (2) years. Major components of a comprehensive review include the development of a Program Presentation, a review by an External Review Panel, and the COA’s consideration of the program’s accreditation status. See Section I.19.1.
The COA may schedule a progress review instead of a comprehensive review upon conferring conditional accreditation if it decides that a full comprehensive review is not necessary to gather enough evidence to make the next accreditation decision. A progress review is more focused than the comprehensive review and is intended to gather evidence about specific aspects of the program. See Section I.19.2.
I.19.1 Comprehensive review
The comprehensive review provides the basis for a COA decision to grant initial or continued accreditation. Major steps in the process include the following:
- Development of a Plan for Program Presentation;
- Development of a Program Presentation;
- Review by an External Review Panel;
- Decision by the COA on the accreditation status of the program.
Throughout the comprehensive review process, the Director of the Office of Accreditation serves as the program’s primary contact on the COA’s concerns and requirements. The Dean should keep the Director informed about the progress of the Program Presentation. The Director will respond to questions from the Dean, will make suggestions as appropriate, and may consult with the Chair of the ERP. Additional details regarding specific steps involved in the comprehensive review process can be found in Section II: Guidelines for the Program Presentation and Section III: Guidelines for the External Review Panel.
I.19.2 Progress review
In some instances, the COA schedules a progress review instead of a comprehensive review upon conferring conditional accreditation. A progress review is more focused than the comprehensive review and is intended to gather evidence about specific aspects of the program. A progress review will only be scheduled when, following conditional accreditation, COA decides that a comprehensive review is not necessary to gather enough evidence to make the next accreditation decision.
A progress review visit is scheduled for three (3) years following the most recent comprehensive review. The process includes development of a new Program Presentation document and review by a Progress Review Panel (PRP), and culminates in an accreditation decision by the COA. Sections II and III of this document contain details regarding the Program Presentation and work of the PRP.
At least one (1) year before the scheduled progress review, the Office for Accreditation notifies the program of the upcoming review. A three-member (including the Chair) PRP is appointed at that time. The PRP is appointed in the same manner as an External Review Panel (see Section III.2).
The new Program Presentation should focus on the areas of concern identified by the COA, but must also address all elements of the Standards. Previous documentation and annual reports should be referred to when developing a new Program Presentation. The Director and PRP Chair discuss with the Dean a Plan for the Program Presentation, due one (1) year before the visit, and the Draft Program Presentation due four (4) months before the scheduled visit. The final Program Presentation is due six (6) weeks before the on-site visit.
The Office for Accreditation provides the PRP with copies of all reports and correspondence between COA and the program since the issuance of a Notice of Concern and/or since the program was placed on conditional status. These documents are sent to the PRP Chair four (4) months before the review and to other PRP members six (6) weeks before the visit.
The site visit will be at least one (1), but no more than two (2), business days. PRP members meet with institutional representatives, students, alumni, and others as necessary.
The PRP submits a draft report for corrections of facts to the program and the Office three (3) weeks after the visit. The program submits corrections of fact one (1) week later (four (4) weeks after the visit). The PRP Chair makes factual corrections and submits the final PRP report one (1) week after receipt of factual corrections (five (5) weeks after the visit).
The program may submit an optional response to the PRP report. The optional response is due one (1) week after receipt of the final PRP report, or six (6) weeks after the visit.
The Dean and the PRP Chair meet with the Committee at the regularly scheduled COA meeting held in conjunction with the ALA Midwinter Meeting or Annual Conference.
The COA takes one of the following accreditation actions: 1) releases the program from conditional status and schedules a comprehensive review in seven (7) years, or 2) withdraws accreditation from the program.