II.4 The plan for the Program Presentation

The comprehensive review process begins with a notice from the Office for Accreditation advising the school of the scheduled comprehensive program review. This notification occurs approximately two (2) years before the program’s comprehensive review by the COA. During the next few months, the Dean of the program works with the Director to select specific dates for the ERP’s planned on-site visit. A Chair of the ERP is identified from a COA-approved list of highly qualified and experienced reviewers. After the program clears the proposed Chair for any conflicts of interest, the Office invites the reviewer to chair. Appointment to ERP Chair can be made after the reviewer declares no conflicts of interest and confirms availability for the preparations and visit. Following appointment of the ERP Chair, the program begins developing a plan for its Program Presentation.

At least one (1) year before the site visit, the Dean submits a plan for the Program Presentation to the Director and the ERP Chair for review and discussion by conference call. The main purpose of the plan is to ensure that the preparation for program review is done in a timely, thorough, and effective manner. In writing the plan, the school decides whether to give special focus in the Program Presentation to specific areas, such as an initiative or a comprehensive curriculum review. The plan is most effective when the school takes a future-oriented approach, often building on strategic planning documents, vision statements, biennial narrative reports to the COA, and other such items that the school already has or is planning for the near future.

The plan for the Program Presentation should be detailed enough to:

  • Outline the process the school and program will follow as it prepares for the accreditation review (e.g., committee structure, faculty and staff assignments, responsibility for developing the documents required);
  • Describe any special areas of emphasis for the comprehensive review;
  • Describe the layout of the document;
  • Include a timeline that allows the school to submit a complete draft Program Presentation four (4) months before the site visit date and a final Program Presentation at least six (6) weeks before the site visit date;
  • Indicate by standard the evidence that will be used in the Program Presentation to indicate compliance with the Standards and how the evidence will be presented: in the text of the document as tables, charts, graphs, or links; as appendices; or on-site only. See Section II.6.4 (Organization and format of the Program Presentation) for a list of examples of evidence that is typically needed to indicate compliance with the Standards.

The plan should indicate whether other external reviews, such as university, state or regional accreditation reviews, are scheduled around the time of the COA review. The COA encourages schools to coordinate these reviews in order to optimize resources that are dedicated to external evaluation.

The plan should include and describe plans for the collection of data that are necessary for the review and that include both direct and indirect measures of student learning outcomes. It should also describe the groups and individuals who will create the Program Presentation and how it will be done. Representatives of all constituencies should be involved in developing the Program Presentation. The plan can also be used to begin to determine the degree to which the program is in compliance with the Standards.