Why should my program seek accreditation

CACREP Accreditation Provides Program Enhancement through Self Assessment

When a counseling program undertakes self-assessment, it indicates that the persons responsible for the program have articulated a clear direction or mission for the program and are taking the time to reflect on the means they are using to accomplish that mission. The mission, goals, and objectives

 Faculty Members at Loyola College in Maryland

are openly stated and made available to prospective students, employers, and other educators.  By making this information publicly available, the program demonstrates its desire to be held accountable for its educational activities and assists prospective students in selecting an appropriate counselor education program.

The self-evaluation entails an assessment of the program’s resources, objectives, strengths, and limitations with the ultimate purpose of improving the educational effectiveness of the program. The self-assessment CACREP requires of programs is focused on planning, goal setting, and measurement against self-designed goals and objectives of the program, as well as the professional standards. The results of this self-assessment are presented in the form of a self-study document.

Peer Assessment Enhances the Accreditation Process

The peer evaluation entails a review of the self-study document against a set of standards and using a set of procedures established by the CACREP Board. Peer evaluators are counselor educators and counseling practitioners, as well as qualified representatives of the public interest.  Peer evaluation ensures that persons competent to judge the educational merit and professional relevance of the program have the opportunity to examine and assess the quality of the curriculum, facilities, faculty and students.

An important aspect of peer evaluation is the advice and counsel that is offered by those individuals who have been designated to assess the program.  The collegial consultation that occurs through an on-site review, together with oral and written feedback, can be incorporated into the program’s and institution’s future plans, reviews, and research aimed at educational improvement.

Because CACREP accreditation does not rank programs against each other, adversarial relationships are avoided, and an atmosphere appropriate to a community of scholars is promoted. In such an environment, research and change are fostered. Ideally, educational innovation and rational decision-making based on the assessment results should characterize accredited programs.