Some of the advantages of having a program and/or an institution accredited by a reputable agency such as the AAC are: the improvement of quality assurance and the upgrading of the official documentation for important administration, management and program delivery policies and procedures. An institution will have to invest in a consultant, and also assign staff to the accreditation process, which can take up to 12 months for a program accreditation and up to 24 for an institutional accreditation. With the obligatory investment of resources, time, and capital, it is essential that an institution be well prepared even before an accreditation application is submitted. Timely preparation is critical to a successful accreditation outcome!
In this article we examine a few of the important points an institution or a university must take into consideration when applying for an accreditation:
- Select a contact person
The contact person should manage the accreditation process for the institution from the beginning to the end. This individual must be someone with the experience and necessary knowledge and it has to be somebody who can commit the proper amount of time to the whole process and the ensuing follow up. This coordinator will be responsible for the project management of the entire process, ensuring deadlines are met, and communicating with the accrediting body and the consultant, coordinating all of the various employees and staff who will be working both directly and indirectly on the procedure.
- Be very careful with details
Once a contract is signed a university or institution of higher education must be prepared to comply with all of the standards of the accreditation body. There are many standards in the AAC and all of these must be respected. This is why attention to detail is so important even before an accreditation process is initiated.
- Be patient
It will be weeks or even months between first contact and the review of the initial documentation. Institutions seeking accreditation for the first time often need considerable time for planning and preparation. Depending on the type of accreditation being sought some of the critical, preliminary steps to becoming accredited can take a while.
- Be prepared with the required documentation
Experts will be examining the overall history and functioning of your institution and programs, as well as how you manage student information. They will talk to students and staff. Make sure you always go through checklists to confirm you have everything you need. It’s important to make everything as easy as possible for the experts, including a well-documented, data-driven performance and quality improvement plan as well as the right policies related to all aspects of operations/management and programs delivered. Completing an initial accreditation assessment can help an institution identify areas that need attention prior to submitting an application to an accrediting body.
These are just some of the things that must be taken into account by an institution and/or university that is interested in having its study programs and or organization accredited by the AAC.
Once the application is submitted and the contract is signed the interesting part begins! Please feel free to contact us at any time for additional information.
The AAC – now is the future!