PREPARING FOR ACCREDITATION: HOW TO MAKE SURE YOUR ACCREDITATION EXPERIENCE IS POSITIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE
Accreditation systems are increasingly prominent in higher education. Whether at the institutional or program level, accreditation is seen as a means of demonstrating quality and adherence to standards. In professional education, accreditation usually takes place at the program level and often creates a flurry of activity, not to mention considerable anxiety for the program involved, prior to and during the process. This presentation is based on the authors’ experiences as accreditors of professional programs in Canada. Having served as members and chairs of accreditation teams and having also hosted accreditation teams, the authors look at what makes for a successful accreditation process, from both the perspective of the program and the accreditation team. Keys to a successful accreditation process are preparation, managing the site visit and follow-up. The authors will describe each of these phases and provide detailed suggestions for ensuring a successful site visit and for using accreditation feedback to guide future program development and improvement. Faculty and staff members, as well as leaders of programs that are preparing for accreditation will find this presentation useful.