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Starting a NAACLS Accredited or Approved Program


The Initial Accreditation/Approval Process


StartAProgram.pngDevelopment of Program/Initial Processes
 
Programs seeking Initial Accreditation/Approval must first comply with several requirements including a letter of intent, a completed initial application, payment of an initial application fee, and approval of a preliminary report.
 
The Self-Study Process
 
The first step in the evaluation of a program is the program's own self-evaluation.  This is accomplished by the Program Director with the cooperation of the program faculty and administration.  NAACLS has made the forms that the reviewers will use available for download on the NAACLS web site (www.naacls.org) as an aide for program officials to evaluate their program.  While the program’s self-evaluation certainly should review the NAACLS Standards, other documents, such as the programmatic and institutional mission statements, supply additional information for the functions of the program.  The result of this self-evaluation is the Self-Study, which is a document that demonstrates the program compliance with the Standards.  Recommendations for assembling the Self-Study are found in the Standards Compliance Guide.
 
The Self-Study reviewer is charged with the review of the Self-Study, ensuring that it adequately demonstrates the program's compliance with the Standards.  The reviewer is evaluating the Self-Study, rather than the program, thus assuring that good practice processes are documented.  In addition, the reviewer is the earliest outside source to review the adequacy of compliance.  The program receives the Self-Study Review and is directed to develop a Response to the Self-Study Review.  The Response attempts to clarify issues identified in the Self-Study Review, and perhaps to develop new policies and procedures to address the concerns noted.
 
The Site Visit Process (For Accredited Programs and Approved Programs that have requested a joint review with their Sponsor’s Accredited Program)
 
Site visits are fact-finding journeys.   The objective of a site visit is to verify and supplement information presented in the Self-Study and the Response to the Self-Study Review.  The Site Visit Report is the product of the Site Visit, and is a summary of information that the program has provided for the site visitors, keyed to the NAACLS Standards.  The program receives the Site Visit Report and is directed to develop a Site Visit Report Response.  The Response attempts to clarify issues identified in the Site Visit, and perhaps to develop new policies and procedures to address the concerns noted. Programs that are seeking Approval only are not required to have a site visit.
 
The Review by the Program Review Committee
Based on the review of Self-Study Review, the Program’s Response to the Self-Study Review, the Site Visit Report, and the Program's Response to the Site Visit Report, the appropriate Program Review Committee makes determinations as to the compliance, partial compliance or non-compliance of a program with the Standards, and recommends accreditation and approval actions to the NAACLS Board of Directors
 
Quality Assurance Assessment
 
The Quality Assurance Committee reviews all accreditation or approval recommendations before the sponsoring institution is notified of the Program Review Committee recommendations and before the recommendations are sent to the Board of Directors for final approval of accreditation and approval awards
 
The Review by the NAACLS Board of Directors
 
Based on the recommendations of the Program Review Committee, and with review of consistent application of the Standards to insure that decisions are not arbitrary, capricious, or inconsistent, the Board of Directors makes the final determination to award, withhold, or withdraw accreditation/approval. 
 

The Initial Accreditation/Approval Process Chart

 
STEP ACTION RESPONSIBLE PARTY TIME FRAME FOR THE PROGRAM
1. Initial Application Request Submit letter to NAACLS requesting application CEO/President or other high ranking administrator of Sponsoring Institution Starting point
2. Submit Application and Initial Application Fee Sponsoring Institution submits:
 
 Initial Application Form
 
 Initial Application Fee
 
 
Proposed Program Director/Department Chair As soon as the program has obtained all signatures required for the application
3. Submit Program Official Approval Form Sponsoring Institution submits:
 
 Program Official Approval Form along with the required documentation requesting approval as Program Director
 
Proposed Program Director/Department Chair As soon as completed.
4. Program Official Approval Form Approved Program encouraged to proceed with Preliminary Report submission NAACLS Review received ideally within four weeks of submission.
5. Submit Preliminary Report Preliminary Report with required documentation Approved Program Director As soon as the program has documentation prepared, preferably around one year prior to the first class of graduates.
 
6. Preliminary Report Approved* Program encouraged to proceed with the Self-Study process.  Program begins first class. NAACLS Review received within 2 months of submission of the Application for Initial Accreditation, Preliminary Report, Program Official Approval Form and Program Director’s CV
 
* A Program will not be considered for accreditation/approval unless there is an approved Program Director in place who prepares and submits the Preliminary Report and the report is approved, stating that NAACLS is reasonably assured that the program will meet the standards.  If the program enrolls students too early in the initial application process and NAACLS does not approve the program’s Preliminary Report, the program may risk having students graduate from their program before the program is accredited/approved.
 
STEP ACTION RESPONSIBLE PARTY TIME FRAME
7. Self Study submitted to NAACLS Submit Self Study to NAACLS.
 
 
Program Director Prior to graduation of first class
8. Program receives “Serious Applicant Status” Once the Self-Study, Initial Application, payment of the Initial Application fee are received,  NAACLS grants “Serious Applicant Status” NAACLS Immediately after receipt of Self Study, Initial Application, and payment of the Initial Application fee
9. Self Study Review Self-Study is evaluated. NAACLS Self-Study Review forwarded to program typically within 2-3 months
10. Response to Self-Study Review Response to Self-Study Review is submitted with supporting documentation Program Director Within 1 month of receipt of Self-Study Review
Steps 11 & 12 below to be completed by Programs seeking initial accreditation or initial approval through joint review with sponsor’s accredited program
 
11. Site Visit
 
Site Visit Team submits a written report following the site visit NAACLS Site Visit Report forwarded to program within 1.5 months following the site visit
12. Response to Site Visit Report Response to Site Visit Report is submitted with supporting documentation Program Director Within 1 month of receipt of Site Visit Report
 

All documentation is reviewed by NAACLS.  Program Review Committee recommendations are reviewed by the QA Committee and sent to the NAACLS Board of Directors to determine accreditation/approval awards.
 
Please see the Guide to Accreditation and Approval for more information.
 

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