Application Process [Professional]
Accreditation is a voluntary process. A Comprehensive Review for Accreditation of an athletic training educational program will be conducted only after the Chief Executive Officer (CEO), Dean, and Program Director of the sponsoring institution has requested those services via formal application, and the institution has submitted the accreditation service fee ($5,000 beginning July 1, 2013). Application does not guarantee accreditation will be achieved.
Application for program accreditation is made to the Commission on Accreditation of Athletic Training Education (CAATE) using the enclosed Application for Accreditation Services document. This document must be included, as delineated below, in Section 1 of the Self-Study.
The Concept of the Comprehensive Review for Accreditation
The Comprehensive Review for Accreditation Process (Comprehensive Review), when utilized to its fullest potential, allows an educational program to critically examine, in structure and substance, its overall effectiveness relative to its mission and outcomes and to assist the institution in determining necessary programmatic modifications and improvements. The Comprehensive Review for Athletic Training Education programs involves two components – the Self-Study Process and the On-Site Review. Self-study by an educational program is the first step in the Comprehensive Review by an educational program.
The Self-Study Process involves a critical analysis of all aspects of an educational program, using set criteria (Standards), and performed by the leadership of that program in cooperation with others who are stakeholders in the quality and effectiveness of that Athletic Training Educational Program. These stakeholders usually include institutional administration, program and faculty, alumni, students, clinical staff and the employers or supervisors of program graduates. The Self-Study Report is the culmination of those critical reviews; it is an evidential document that summarizes the methods and findings of the self-study process. When done correctly, this report can identify programmatic strengths, weaknesses, areas for improvement, and potential opportunities to improve the effectiveness and quality of an educational program. The term “report” is a misnomer, because when done correctly, the culmination of the Self-Study Process should provide the Program with the necessary data to assist it in making continual improvements in the education program.
The second part of the Comprehensive Review Process involves an On-Site Visit conducted by peer evaluators using the same set of review criteria (Standards) as was used in the Self-Study Process. The responsibility of the peer reviewers is to validate the information and findings identified during the Self-Study Process. It is also the purpose of the On-Site Visit to confirm that an educational program meets all of the requirements that are expected of an accredited program.
Characteristics of an Acceptable Self-Study Report
- The Self-Study Report incorporates sufficient data about graduates and educational outcomes to validate the goals and objectives of the program.
- The Self-Study Report incorporates sufficient quantitative and qualitative information in its narrative and appendices to document the conclusions of the self-study such as compliance with the Standards, validation of goals and objectives, identification of strengths and weaknesses, and a schedule for improvements, completed or in progress
- The Self-Study Report incorporates, wherever applicable, one copy of completed, blinded (last name and personal information blackened) and completed assessment forms.
- The Self-Study Report is paginated, tabbed, and formatted in the manner delineated in this document.
Instructions and Suggestions for Developing a Self-Study Report
- Review the Standards, the required scope of the Self-Study Report, interrelated areas, and other details;
- Convene a Self-Study Committee by identifying and securing the cooperation of individuals who represent the interests of the program;
- Assemble all data, conclusions and reports from previous and ongoing self-study activities performed by the program;
- Distribute the information compiled in Item #3 to members of the Self-Study Committee;
- Establish a timetable for completion of interim stages of the self-study and the Self-Study Report;
- Assign specific tasks for the development of the “Self-Study Report;”
- Set a timely deadline for the first composite draft of the Self-Study Report so that the Committee can begin working toward assessment and improvement of the program;
- The final Self-Study Report should reflect the consensus of the Self-Study Reports committee representing the range of interests in the program;
- Each section of the Self-Study Report requires the completion of a Self-Analysis Summary for that section. Self-Study Reports are not considered complete without this information.
The purpose of the site visit is to validate the Self-Study Report and evaluate the program’s compliance with the 2005 CAATE Standards (For Programs submitting July 1, 2013 and later, the 2012 Standards will be used). The on-site evaluation includes a review of both the didactic and clinical aspects of the program including visits to both on-campus and off-campus clinical experience sites to evaluate the correlation between the didactic and clinical aspects of the program. The number of off-campus clinical sites and specific facilities to be visited is determined by the CAATE site visitors.
The site visit team is selected by the CAATE and will consist of a team chair and a team member. Prior to the site visit, the Program Director of the sponsoring institution is notified, by letter, of the names and affiliations of the individuals assigned to the team. At that time, the Program Director may request replacement of either of the site visitors if the Program Director perceives a conflict of interest. The CAATE decreases the likelihood of conflicts of interest by pooling the potential site visitors, in advance of the selection, to avoid conflicts of interest.
The Team Chair, in cooperation with the Program Director and the Team Member, is responsible for developing the agenda for the site visit. Site visits usually are two to two and one-half days in length. Additional time may be required as determined by the site visit team. The agenda will include sessions with representatives from the institution’s administration, faculty, program officials, clinical personnel, and students and also include a review of student records, and visits to the library, laboratory, and clinical sites. The program should provide a conference room or office for the site visit team to use throughout the entire visit.
Prior to an exit conference, where a summation of the visit is presented, the site visit team will review its findings with the Program Director, on several occasions, to notify the PD of potential concerns and/or non-compliances, assure mutual understanding of those concerns, and avoid presentation of inaccurate information. The sponsoring institution determines who may attend the exit conference. It is appropriate for institutional administration, program officials, and clinical representatives to attend; however, since the recommendations of the site visit team are preliminary, it should not be an event open to the general institution population. At the exit conference, the team chair and/or team member will report the team’s preliminary findings related to the Standards. The site visit team will provide a description of programmatic strengths, areas of concern, and non-compliance(s) with the Standards. The team, however, does not make accreditation recommendations nor do they or should they be asked to provide specifics as to how the institution may rectify non-compliances. Guidelines for the methods needed to rectify non-compliant areas will be provided to the institution by the CAATE.
The site visit report then is sent to the CAATE Executive Office where it will be forwarded to a CAATE Review Committee. Should the CAATE have questions, the site visit team chair would be contacted for clarification. Once the report review is complete, the Site Visit Report will be emailed to the Program Director and either the Chair or Dean. The program will have until May 1st to submit a rejoinder, no matter when the site visit occurred. If there are numerous citations, the program may choose to withdraw its application at that time and re-apply at a later time. This withdrawal and reapplication would require the submission of a new self-study, application fee, and result in another site visit which will be conducted by a new site visit team. Should a continuing program choose this option, it would be placed on Probation until such time that the next site visit would occur or a one year interval, whichever event occurs first, and after which action for involuntary withdrawal of accreditation would occur.
The sponsoring institution is responsible for payment of each site visitor’s expenses. The CAATE will bill the institution, as soon as possible but not more than 30 days, after the completion of the visit; an itemized bill will be provided to the institution. Site visitor lodging and meal reimbursement is based on reasonable and customary rates for locations convenient to the site being visited. If weekend travel results in considerable savings to the program, mutual agreement between the site visitors and the Program Director to initiate the visitation on a weekend is suggested; however, site visitors are not required to honor such requests if their schedule(s) do not permit. Expenses will not be reimbursed for alcoholic beverages, movies or other entertainment costs. CAATE Site Visitors are not obligated to lease transportation to conduct the Site Visit; it is the responsibility of the institution to provide transportation for the Site Visitors during the visit. The CAATE Executive Office, prior to billing the program, will investigate expenses appearing excessive or inappropriate.
Site Visit Report Response (Rejoinder)
A site visit report is sent to the appropriate academic administrator of the sponsoring institution and the Program Director to be shared with other institutional personnel. The report defines any area of the Standards the site visit team found the program to be deficient at the time of the on-site review. Each section of deficiencies corresponds to a section of the Standards and is defined by the associate Standards number. A response to the site visit report (Rejoinder) is required by all programs, regardless of the number of citations, and must include the signature of the Chief Executive Officer of the sponsoring institution, Dean, and Program Director. The Rejoinder is due May 1st. If no deficiencies are cited, and/or the site visit report is accepted by the institution “as is,” receipt of the site visit report must be acknowledged and include the signature of President/CEO of the institution, Dean and Program Director. As part of the Rejoinder process, the institution officials will be solicited for their feedback on the quality and professionalism of the Site Visit Team, as well as the site visit process itself.
Program Rejoinder Review
Implicit in the recognition of CAATE accreditation is the requirement that the CAATE take adequate and appropriate measures to ensure that the programs it evaluates have demonstrated compliance with each of the Standards.
The site visit report and the program’s rejoinder are evaluated by the CAATE at regularly scheduled semi-annual meetings held in late winter/early spring and in mid-summer. Programs seeking initial accreditation should be aware that students are not eligible to apply for the Board of Certification (BOC) examination until such time that the program receives official notification of accreditation. A recommendation for appropriate accreditation action is based upon the program’s rejoinder. The sponsoring institution and program are notified of the CAATE accreditation action by letter from the CAATE Chair. In the case of initial accreditation, the program will be notified, via email, of either withholding or the award of initial accreditation to allow the program’s students an opportunity to apply immediately to take the BOC exam. The BOC also will be informed of positive initial accreditation actions.
When determining a recommendation for accreditation, the CAATE considers the site visit report, the program’s rejoinder to the site visit report, and all documentation supporting the rejoinder. The program rejoinder must demonstrate, at the time of Program Rejoinder Review, implementation of actions that demonstrate compliance with the Standards. Plans not yet put into practice will remain in non-compliance until there is sufficient evidence to document that the plans have been implemented. Assurance of development may be demonstrated to the CAATE through provision of necessary documents, e.g. student policies, course outlines, clinical rotation schedules, and completed evaluation instruments. Submission of such documents is a comparatively easy and effective way of demonstrating compliance with some Standards. However, there are components of the Standards that require on-site evaluation and interviews with appropriate individuals involved in the program.