Fall 2020 Articles
Meet CACREP’s New Site Visit Coordinator
My name is Bryant and I am the new, full-time Site Visit Coordinator for CACREP! I have officially been here a little over 2 months now and I have learned a lot during this time. Most recently, I used to work for the National Early Childhood Program Accreditation Commission, which accredits child care centers from your average mom and pop to your corporate-owned La Petite Academy or KinderCare Learning Center. I started with the NECPA as an Office Assistant in 2016 and eventually worked my way up to Office Manager. As of 2018, I assumed the Business Manager role leading the business operations side of the organization. In this role, I was responsible for ensuring client success and support, organizational social media & marketing efforts, and verification visit management.
In my spare time, I enjoy traveling and cooking as much as I can! I’m also a proud uncle of the most cutest pup ever! Her name is Teddi, a Yorkie-Bichon. One fun fact is that I HATE salad but I like most vegetables. Weird right? If you want to know more, please feel free to contact me at any point. I look forward to working with you for years to come.
Now switching gears a little bit, as you all are probably aware, CACREP plans to continue conducting site visits virtually for the foreseeable future. Although I am new to the organization, I can say that this has been a big change for us. In this newsletter, you will find information on some of the lessons that we have learned along the way. You will also see that we are planning to modify the team report. Don’t forget to take a look at our reminders for some quick updates on things to keep in mind as a team member. As always, thanks to all of you for your support and the hard work you do for counselor education!
CACREP Virtual Site Visits: What We Have Learned So Far
by Jonathan Collum
For many of us, the disruptions that started in March to our normal ways of operating were jarring. One result was that CACREP had to rethink the whole way we do our site visit review process. Drawing on experience and input from across the accreditation community and the expertise of some of our experienced team chairs/members, and thanks to the buy-in support we’ve had from so many of you, CACREP was able in just about seven months to stand up and normalize a new Virtual Site Visit (VSV) process to temporarily take over for our In-Person Visit (IPV) process. It is still relatively early in our implementation of the VSVs. With each new visit, we are learning new ways to make this form of review the best possible. I’d like to share just a few of the things that I’ve learned in assisting teams, listening to the experiences of team chairs and members, and speaking to program faculty.
Setting the Agenda
When you start discussing the development of the agenda with the liaison, keep in mind these scheduling considerations
- Keep it short. Virtual meetings may be more effective if they are slightly shorter than standard in-person meetings.
- Make Time. In order to expedite the team’s development of the team report, it is helpful to build in time during the visit day for working on the report.
- Stretch. It is easy to get extra fatigued using zoom all day. When you get breaks stand up, stretch, and rest your eyes from the screens.
- Keep it simple. If you have back to back meetings in which the entire team will be present the team can stay put in one zoom room, while participants cycle in and out. Each team member will be assigned a zoom user account and room for use during the visit. They can use that account throughout the visit to both join or host meetings as needed.
- Know the tools. Make sure you can access all of the technology needed for the visit in advance. There will be a quick tech check with the liaison, team members, and CACREP staff prior to the visit. This just one last check to make sure you can access the “virtual exhibit room” and zoom rooms.
- Start Early. Start reviewing materials in the “virtual exhibit room” once you have access. This gives you the ability to ask for additional info as needed and time to begin working on their report in advance.
Effectively Utilizing Zoom
- Open Lines of Communication. Teams should have other ways to reach each other outside of Zoom. Sometimes a team member loses the internet or power and you must shuffle meetings to cover for them.
- Ask For Help. If you have trouble with zoom do not waste time trying to troubleshoot on your own; contact the CACREP staff right away.
- Keep Your Records Current. Make sure the CACREP staff has your best mailing address, this will speed up the process by which CACREP can send your $200 stipend Remember this is a new process for everyone.
The CACREP staff are regularly monitoring how different aspects of the visit work in this new format and adjusting if needed. Feel free to reach out to staff if you have any questions or concerns about how the virtual visits are conducted. We also welcome any suggestions you have for improving the process. Most importantly, we appreciate your flexibility and willingness to work on this new process with us.
Change in Site Visit Reporting Process
By Robert Urofsky
CACREP is implementing a change to the site visit reporting process to ensure that programs in the review process have access to the full breadth of results from the accreditation review. Beginning January 2021, site teams will no longer be asked to complete the team recommendation form that only went to the CACREP Board of Directors. All information pertaining to the conduct of the visit will be included in the team report. There currently are no changes planned to the overall format of the team report.
CACREP is implementing this change for two main reasons. First, teams have utilized this document to varying degrees, ranging from providing complementary information to the report, to simply indicating a recommendation of accreditation for 2 or 8 years, or for denial of accreditation. Thus, the utility of the form has been limited. Second, and more importantly, CACREP believes that programs in the review process should be privy to all observations the teams wish to share, positive or negative so that they can respond to them if so desired in the institution’s response to the site team’s report.
It is anticipated that this change will result in minimal adjustments on the team’s part in terms of completing the team report. The teams will still provide met and not met indicators for all standards. Broad-based observations about the institution, college/school, department, and/or program can continue to be included in the “Program(s) Description” Section at the beginning of the report. More specific observations on issues impacting the counseling program can be included in expanded comments in each section of the report under Strengths, Suggestions, or Specific Requirements.
The leadership in the College of Human Services, ranging from the Dean, the Director of the School of Education, and the Department Chair evidenced a strong understanding of and support for the accreditation requirements for the counseling specialty areas. All program coordinators sit on the Dean’s Leadership Council and thus, have direct input into the administrative decision-making impacting the counseling program.
For Standard 1K, the faculty were able to point to regular activities that the team felt met the overall intent of the requirements for the academic unit to make continuous and systematic efforts to attract, enroll, and retain a diverse group of students and to create and support an inclusive learning community. The team, however, felt that there was more than could be accomplished in this area and that the overall effectiveness of the efforts could be enhanced. One avenue for accomplishing this would be for the program faculty to establish links between their efforts, and the existing university resources, such as the Admissions Office, the Office of Minority Student Affairs, the Office of Career Development, the Tutoring lab, and campus student groups. It is recommended that these links be active (e.g., planned efforts) rather than passive (e.g., simply telling students about the services once enrolled) to leverage the strengths of these resources in supporting the goals and objectives of the counseling program in terms of attracting, enrolling, and retaining a diverse group of students and creating and supporting an inclusive learning community.
Standard 3.G: The team was unable to verify that all students complete a minimum of 40 clock hours of direct service with actual clients during Practicum. While the syllabus and Clinical Experiences Handbook state requirements for 40 hours of direct service, it does not appear this is happening in all instances. While reviewing completed Practicum logs, the team noted multiple instances where students logged less than the requisite 40. In addition, the program allows students to log observation hours, where they are not involved in the provision of services to clients, as direct contact hours. The program needs mechanisms for ensuring that all students have completed the requisite direct service hours and clear indicators of what constitutes direct and indirect hours.
* Note the usage of the “because” concept, discussed in prior team training sessions. While the actual term “because” is not used here, the team has explained what the issue is, what they looked at, and why it does not satisfy the requirements stated in the standard.
As always, we appreciate and value all that you do in support of the CACREP accreditation review process. Please contact our new Site Visit Coordinator, Bryant Harvin, with any questions or suggestions you have.
For Your Consideration
- CACREP provides a $200 stipend for site visitors participating in a virtual site visit. This stipend is provided in lieu of the per diem reimbursement provided for participating in an in-person visit. Please note that if the amount provided to a site visitor in a tax year exceeds a total of $600, CACREP will issue a 1099-MISC tax form for Miscellaneous Income to the recipient, in accordance with current tax law.
- The recording for the Virtual Site Visitor Training is available to you under the TRAINING tab on the website. All current site visitors need to complete this training in order to serve on a Virtual Site Visit.
- Do you know a good potential site visitor? Please encourage them to submit an application located on the TEAM MEMBER tab or contact Bryant Harvin [email protected]. We are especially seeking new team members with expertise in Rehabilitation Counseling and School Counseling, but welcome all applicants.
- If you are a current team member who is interested in becoming a Site Team Chair, please let Bryant[email protected] know of your interest.