Accreditation Handbook—Chapter VII: Site Visitors, Chapter XVIX: Site Visit Planning and Conduct, Chapter XX: Site Visit Report
The site visit is an essential and unique step in the accreditation process. Conducting a site visit on a campus during an accreditation review is one of several mechanisms used by the CAA to determine a program’s compliance with the Standards for Accreditation. The CAA sends trained site visit teams to:
- Verify the accuracy of information provided in the application and resolve questions/concerns that arose from review of the application
- Directly observe program resources and space on campus and interact with program faculty, students, and leadership
- Document that compliance with accreditation standards was verified, consistent with CAA’s expectations
- Facilitate the CAA’s decision making for programs by providing a written report of the visit
The site visit enables the program’s faculty to provide context about the program that is often not conducive in a written description and that can be obtained only by direct observation.
Upcoming Site Visits
View upcoming site visits. Programs anticipating a CAA site visit are required to provide opportunity for public comment in advance of the site visit. In addition, programs will host a public meeting with the CAA site visitors during the visit.
CAA Site Visits and COVID-19
The CAA has been closely monitoring conditions across the country related to the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). We are aware that many universities have decided to restrict or cease face-to-face activities on campus during the 2020-2021 academic terms. In light of these activities, the fact that many universities and employers are restricting travel, and the recommendations to limit social interactions, the CAA postponed the site visits scheduled for spring 2020 beginning March 12, 2020, to reduce any risk to those individuals participating in accreditation activities. All spring 2020 site visits were rescheduled for fall 2020. Programs will retain their current accreditation status (i.e., accredited, candidate, applicant) until the CAA has acted on the program’s application.
Virtual Site Visits to be Conducted during the Pandemic
In June 2020, the CAA approved an emergency policy to conduct virtual site visits during the pandemic. Please note that the USDE requires recognized accrediting agencies like the CAA to develop policies and procedures prior to implementing virtual site visit protocols. Programs anticipating a fall 2020 site visit, including programs that had visits postponed in spring 2020, were advised of the CAA’s emergency policy. Further, in light of continued uncertainty regarding safety risks, including access to campus and travel restrictions, all site visits scheduled for fall 2020 and spring 2021 will be conducted as full-team virtual site visits. The CAA is required by USDE to conduct an on-campus follow-up site visit for all programs that a virtual site visit was conducted. Parameters for the follow-up visits are outlined in Chapter XIX Site Visit Planning and Conduct in the Accreditation Handbook.
Planning guidelines and resources for conducting virtual site visits are available on the Program Preparation for Site Visits webpage.
Questions can be directed to the Accreditation Office at firstname.lastname@example.org.