The CAA approved the following edits to the Accreditation Handbook [PDF].
At the July and September 2023 Meetings
- Complaints Against Graduate Education Programs and Complaints Against the Council on Academic Accreditation (Chapter XIII) – Updated to include email addresses to submit complaints virtually and remove the requirement to submit a physical complaint in writing.
- Further Consideration and Appeal Procedures (Chapter XVIII) – Revised to clarify further consideration scenarios, the appeals process and procedures, timelines, and costs.
- Hybrid Site Visits (Chapter XIX) – Edited to clarify the use and timing of hybrid or virtual site visits for candidacy and accreditation reviews.
At the March 2023 Meeting
- Student Achievement Measures/Initial and Reaccreditation Applications - Employment Rate Data (Chapter XI and XVII) – Edited to remove language mentioning employment rate as a required student outcome measurement.
- Appeals Process Mailing Address (Chapter XVIII) – Updated the mailing address for appeals requests based on changes stemming from ASHA’s remote work policy to ensure timely receipt of requests.
- Committees (Chapter V) – Updated language in the Handbook to reflect the CAA’s decision to disband the Operations Committee in January 2023.
At the July 2022 Meeting
- Reporting Administrative Structure Change (Chapter XI) – Edited to clarify differences between reporting on internal changes and the CAA’s new policy and procedures for more complex institutional structure changes.
- Reporting Institutional Structure Changes (Chapter XI) – Added new policy and procedures to address complex institutional structure changes and their impact on CAA accredited or candidate programs.
- Investigation of Adverse Information (Chapter XIII) – Updated procedures and process timelines to align with existing procedures, e.g., decision notification, complaints.
- Effective Date for Final Adverse Actions Taken by the CAA (Chapter XVII, XVIII) – Updated the language throughout the Handbook to make consistent when a final adverse action taken by the CAA, e.g., withhold or withdraw an accreditation status from a program, would take effect
At the February 2022 Meeting
- Site Visitor Qualifications and Eligibility (Chapter VII) – Modified qualifications and eligibility conditions for academic faculty and clinical faculty site visitors to now allow the following:
- Individuals with experience in an accredited program but working in a candidacy program may qualify for positions that were previously banned for new applicants.
- Individuals who are newly retired from university positions are now eligible to apply for these site visitor positions (within 3 years of anticipated appointment date); this was previously banned for new applicants.
- Public Disclosure of Accreditation Status (Chapters XI and XII) – The following changes were made to these chapters:
- Updated the expectations to include the stipulation that applicant and candidacy applicant programs must use the specified template language in this policy.
- Added a requirement that the status statement specify all approved modalities to be included in the program’s accreditation – residential, distance education, satellite location, and/or contractual arrangement.
- Added a requirement for those programs seeking approval to add a modality to their accreditation status to publish a “pending” status on its website or in promotional materials until CAA has approved the additional modality.
- Translation Services (Chapters XV and XIX) – The following changes were made to these chapters:
- Clarified CAA’s expectations for the conduct of accreditation reviews in English, including site visits.
- Updated language to reflect more contemporary references to interpreters, translators, and transliterators.
- Religious Mission Exemption Declaration (Chapter XV) – Added a policy that requires programs housed in institutions that may qualify for exemption from any federal antidiscrimination provisions based on the institution’s religious tenets to disclose that status and provide documentation. The CAA will consider this information on a case-by-case basis and will determine whether or how it affects a program’s compliance with accreditation standards.
- Focused Site Visits (Chapter XIX) – Codified CAA’s practice that CAA will not publish dates of focused site visits but may require a program to inform stakeholders or host a public meeting during a focused site visit, if warranted. Focused site visits are a vehicle available to the CAA to collect more information about a program’s compliance with standards by visiting campus when a decision is pending.
At the September 2021 Meeting
- Maintaining Qualifications as a Site Visitor (Chapter V) – Approved changes to the process for assignment of site visitors to a team when their role in the site visitor pool changes.
- Program Eligibility (Chapter X) – Added clarifying language for applicant programs to CAA’s conditions for a program’s eligibility to seek an accreditation status.
- Seeking Approval of Substantive Changes – Satellite Location (Chapter XI) – Modified definition for satellite location – removing references to branch campus—and added a definition of ‘independent program’.
- Investigation of Adverse Information (Chapter XIII) – Added new policy and procedures to outline how the CAA would consider potentially adverse information and to investigate a program’s compliance with standards or policies based on information received outside of the complaint and public comment processes.
- Site Visit Team Composition (Chapter XIX) – Added a statement that to the extent possible, CAA would not place site visitors employed by the same academic institution on the same site visit team.
At the July 2021 Meeting
- Selection Procedures for CAA and CAA Nominating Committee (Chapter VI) – Codified processes that allow for qualified applicants to run opposed; allows the CAA to appoint CAA Nominating Committee members in the event no qualified applicants submit applications.
- Site Visit Chair Qualifications (Chapter VII) – Approved language to allow for exceptions to site visit chair qualifications on a case-by-case basis but would continue to support integrity of accreditation program.
- Structure of Accreditation Fees/Payment of Accreditation Fees (Chapter IX) – Updated language to reflect business practices for invoicing and collection of accreditation fees.
- Notice of Intent Fee (Chapters IX, XVI) – Added language to reflect new Notice of Intent fee to be required as part of the pre-submission process for candidacy applicants as of January 1, 2022.
- Candidacy Application Timelines (Chapters XI, XVI) – Revised candidacy application timelines to better align processes and provide timely notification of candidacy decisions.
- Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII) – Updated language in the policy and the examples to clarify CAA’s intent that the title and the abbreviation of the degree program that holds an accreditation status must be clearly specified in the program’s accreditation statement.
- Consultative Conferences (Chapters XV, XVI, XVII) – Approved procedures for when CAA will require or strongly recommend programs deemed in jeopardy participate in a consultative conference with CAA and accreditation staff.
- Enforcement of Standards (Chapter XVII) – Added clarifying language to CAA’s policy for monitoring programs that when the review of a second consecutive report reveals that noncompliance issues continue for the same standard(s), regardless of which requirements for review are identified, a program will be placed on probation or accreditation withdrawn.
At the February 2021 Meeting
- Consultative Framework (Chapter V) – Added opportunity for consultative conversations for at-risk programs, e.g, program placed on probation, to discuss issues, expectations, and progress. The CAA will be piloting this process during spring 2021.
- Distance Education (Chapters XII, XV) – Updated definition to reflect changes in July 2021 USDE regulations on defining distance education definition and substantive interactions. The CAA is updating its report forms to reflect the changes for programs reporting beginning August 1, 2021.
At the September 2020 Meeting
- Charge to Site Visitor Recruitment, Selection and Evaluation Committee (Chapter V) – Approved additional charge for mentoring site visitors, especially those who serve as site visit team chairs.
- Recruitment and Election Processes for CAA Members for 2023 and 2024 (Chapter VI) – Adopted special protocols for recruitment, application, and election activities for CAA members with terms beginning 2023 and 2024. These efforts will make transparent the recruitment and election activities needed to support sitting new members for staggered terms in those years to rebalance CAA’s rotation.
- Accredited On-Probation (Chapter X) – Approved a revision to the CAA’s definition of Accredited On-Probation to align with the enforcement of standards and good cause extension procedures.
- Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII) — Clarified that both the degree title and degree designator (abbreviation) must be included in the program’s accreditation status statements. For example, the lead in language for the accreditation status statement published by the program should begin, “The Master of Science (M.S.) education program” or “The Doctor of Audiology (Au.D.) education program.” Programs would use the title and designator affiliated with their program.
- Accreditation Decisions and Religious Mission (Chapters XVI and XVII) – Approved new language, consistent with July 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies, that the CAA would not use as a negative factor in its accreditation decisions an institution’s religious mission-based policies, decisions, and practices for faculty, curriculum, facilities, equipment and supplies, and student support services provided that the program’s curriculum include all core components outlined in the CAA’s Standards for Accreditation.
- Submission of Transition Reports When Accreditation Status is Withdrawn (Chapters XVI, XVII, and XVIII.) – Approved a requirement that programs for which CAA has withdrawn accreditation status must provide a transition report to the CAA within 30 days of notification of final decision.
- Enforcement of Standards (Chapter XVII) – Approved modifications to CAA’s procedures for allowing programs a reasonable amount of time to comply with all standards when found to be in noncompliance, and when the CAA must initiate adverse action, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies. Formerly the “two-year” rule, the CAA adopted a new timeline in July 2020 that would allow three years for speech-language pathology and four years for audiology. However, based on USDE guidance subsequent to that decision, the CAA revised its procedures in order to fully comply with the July 2020 federal regulations. The CAA now will allow three years for all programs, regardless of professional area, to come into compliance with standards; the three years includes up to two years for probation period if warranted. (Effective January 1, 2021)
- Good Cause Extensions (Chapter XVII) – Adopted procedures for considering granting good cause extensions to programs beyond the three years of noncompliance/probation status allowed under the enforcement of standards procedures. (Effective January 1, 2021)
- Follow-Up Site Visits (Chapter XIX) – Approved parameters for conducting follow-up site visits to programs that a full-team virtual site visit was conducted. A follow-up site visit is required if a virtual visit was conducted, consistent with the requirement that USDE-recognized agencies, like the CAA, conduct on-campus site visits as part of the accreditation review.
At the July 2020 Meeting
- CAA Member Qualifications (Chapter V) – Approved language to allow for exceptions to member qualifications on a case-by-case basis but would support integrity of accreditation program.
- Program Voting for CAA Practitioner Members (Chapters IX and XI) — Updated language to reflect that accredited programs also vote to elect practitioner member vacancies on the CAA.
- Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Actions (Chapter XII) — Approved three changes to the policy to comply with July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies:
- The CAA will notify the U.S. Secretary of Education, licensing boards and other accrediting agencies when CAA initiates an adverse action (i.e., deny or withdraw).
- The CAA requires programs to notify students within 7 business days of the CAA’s decision notice when it is placed on probation or when an adverse action is initiated.
- The CAA must notify the U.S. Secretary of Education, the appropriate State licensing or authorizing agency, the appropriate accrediting agencies, and the public when a program voluntarily withdraws or allows its accreditation status to lapse within 10 business days of being notified; this timeline has been reduced from 30 days.
- Candidacy Equivalency (Chapter XVI) – Approved language, consistent with the interpretation provided by the U.S. Department of Education, stating that credits and degrees issued by a candidacy program are considered to be from an accredited program.
- Retroactive Decisions (Chapters XVI and XVII) — Added statements to clarify that the effective date of decision/status/term is not retroactive to any prior review that was unsuccessful or any earlier date in the current process before CAA’s current decision.
- Enforcement of Standards (Chapter XVII) – Approved a modification to the CAA’s process for allowing programs a reasonable amount of time to comply with all standards when found to be in noncompliance, but under which the CAA must initiate adverse action, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies. Formerly the “two-year” rule, the new timeline would allow three years for speech-language pathology and four years for audiology programs.
- Appeal Panel (Chapter XVIII) — Updated the procedures to remove the option for an appeal panel’s authority to “reverse” a decision of the CAA, consistent with the July 1, 2020 federal regulations for accrediting agencies.
- Virtual Site Visits (Chapter XIX) — Added a statement to reflect the emergency virtual site policy for the COVID-19 pandemic, approved by the CAA on June 4, 2020.
At the February 2020 Meeting
- Standing Committees (Chapter V)—Updated the charge for the Operations Committee.
- Report Submission (Chapter XI)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
- Discontinued Accreditation Review (Chapter XV)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
- Application for Candidacy (Chapter XVI)—Updated to reflect changes to Notice of Intent to Apply for Candidacy procedures.
- Complaints (Chapter XIII)—Updated to reflect the requirement that waiver of confidentiality is to be submitted at the time the complaint is filed.
At the October 2019 Meeting
- CAA Member Rotation Schedule (Chapter V)—The CAA approved a plan to stagger terms of future CAA members to rebalance the rotation schedule.
- Voting Protocols for Program Decisions (Chapter V)—Revised voting protocols to allow for all CAA members to vote on accreditation decisions regardless of profession, consistent with conflict of interest policy.
- Nominating Committee Procedures (Chapter VI)—Updated the submission date for applications to serve on CAA from June 1 to May 1.
- Seeking Approval of Substantive Changes (Chapter XI)—Candidacy programs are no longer eligible to seek approval of substantive changes during their candidacy term.
- Changes in Institutional Accreditation Status (Chapter XI)—Programs are required to advise the CAA when any changes occur to its institution’s accreditation status within 60 days of notice.
- Policy on Public Notice of Accreditation Status (Chapter XII)—Updated text for accreditation status language to be used by programs; complete wording must be used on the program’s website in accordance with Standard 1.9 (Public Information).
- Periodic and Systematic Review of Standards (Chapter XIV)—Updated language to reflect that proposed revisions to Requirements for Review of the standards are subject to peer review before approval and implementation.
- Effective Date of Adverse Actions (Chapters XVI, XVII, XVIII)—Final decisions to withdraw or withhold an accreditation status will be effective on the last day of the next academic term following the date of notification to the program.
At the March 2019 Meeting
- Roles and Responsibilities of CAA Members (Chapter V)—Updated expectations to reflect third meeting to be conducted at ASHA National Office under Performance and Attendance; removed reference to partial compliance in Report Reviews.
- Standing Committees (Chapter V)—Removed Communications Committee as a standing committee.
- Meetings (Chapter V)—Updated description of frequency to indicate that the CAA will conduct three meetings yearly, including a fall meeting in lieu of the meeting prior to ASHA Convention.
- Report Submission (Chapter XI)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1.
- Discontinued Accreditation Review (Chapter XV)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1.
- Application for Candidacy (Chapter XVI)—Updated to indicate that Applications for Candidacy must be submitted February 1 or August 1 and must still be submitted no less than 18 months prior to student enrollment.
- CAA Final Review of and Action on Initial and Reaccreditation Applications (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
- CAA Final Review of and Action on Annual Reports (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
- CAA Final Review of and Action on Probation Reports (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
- CAA Final Review of and Action on Substantive Change Plans (Chapter XVII)—Removed reference to partial compliance.
- Required Meetings and Activities—Exit Report (Chapter XIX)—Removed Partial Observation/Verification reference.
At the July 2018 Meeting
- Readiness Review (Chapter XVI)—Removed second readiness review option for candidacy application reviews and related decision options to go into effect January 1, 2019
- Standards Compliance Continuum (Chapter XVI)—Updated “P-I-M” key and definitions for continuum of CAA’s standards compliance expectations of new programs to go into effect January 1, 2019
At the February 2018 Meeting
- Confidentiality and Conflict of Interest Policy (Chapter IV)—Updated policy to reflect current procedures to maintain the confidentiality of program review materials.
- Social Media Guidelines for CAA Volunteers (Chapter IV)—Adopted guidelines when volunteers are using social media platforms.
- Orientation and Training for New Members of the CAA (Chapter V)—Updated description and work environments.
- Committee Charges (Chapter V)—Updated charge to Candidacy Committee to include responsibility for education of candidacy site visitors.