Accreditation Handbook—Chapter X: Eligibility and Program Development
As academic units undergo self-study or other internal reviews, they may wish to engage consultants for assistance with established academic programs or to explore the feasibility of, or develop new programs.
Policies Regarding Consultants
The CAA has developed the following policies regarding consultants:
- Individuals who are currently serving on the CAA or on the ASHA Board of Directors, including ex officios, are not eligible to serve during their term of office as consultants to programs seeking or maintaining accreditation
- Any individual who is used by a program as a consultant cannot be assigned as a site visitor for that program after an application for accreditation or reaccreditation has been made
- Arrangements for consultant fees and travel expenses are made strictly between the program and the consultant
- Use of consultants will not guarantee accreditation approval because decisions about accreditation are made only by the CAA
Guidelines for Selecting a Consultant
The CAA does not maintain a list of consultants but has developed guidelines to assist programs in selecting a consultant. Programs interested in engaging a consultant are encouraged to contact the planning or assessment office within your own university, colleagues at other graduate education programs, the Council of Academic Programs in Communications Sciences and Disorders (CAPCSD), or established higher education consulting groups or private consultants for recommendations or assistance.
Consider what specifically you want to gain from the consultation. It is helpful if materials for a consultant are prepared in advance so that he/she will have ample opportunity to review and comment. Generally, the clearer you can be regarding your expectations, the more satisfied you will be with the results. Your expectations should be communicated to the consultant as part of the letter of agreement.
In selecting a consultant, you will want to consider:
- Geographic location of the consultant—if finances are an issue, you may want to contract with someone closer
- Type of institution/program with which the consultant is familiar (state vs. private; large vs. small; master’s vs. doctoral, etc.)
- Years of experience of potential consultant
- Stated areas of expertise of the consultant (e.g., curriculum design and development, needs assessment, admissions, clinical practicum models, faculty recruitment and development, planning, budgeting, research). You may wish to ask for a reference from a program administrator who has used the consultant or review written or published works by the potential consultant
Consultants generally expect to receive expenses (travel and per diem) plus a negotiated fee. The fee is based on the experience and expertise of the consultant. The letter of agreement should clarify whether the consultant is to be paid for advance preparation, writing follow-up reports, travel time, etc.
Letter of Agreement
Having a letter of agreement between the program and the consultant is recommended. This may generally include:
- Expectations (e.g., on-site recommendations during the consultation visit, recommendations at the end of the visit, a written report within a certain time frame)
- Expenses and fees
- Time/schedule (e.g., number of days, maximum number of hours, deadlines)
- Materials to be reviewed in advance of consultation.
In planning for the consultation, you may want to discuss:
- With whom the consultant will want to meet
- What the consultant recommends that you do to prepare for the visit
- Materials the consultant needs to review in preparation for the visit