Becoming an Evaluator on an Accreditation Team
Jack Pond, Vice President of ACCJC
Peer evaluation is unique to higher education in the United States, and it relies on a pool of qualified individuals with expertise in areas included in the Accreditation Standards and required to meet U.S Department of Education regulations. Each year, approximately 250 individuals are needed to staff external evaluation teams.
A basic evaluation team generally includes at least three faculty members, a CEO, chief instructional officer, student services officer, researcher, business officer, and librarian or information specialist. Other positions may be added as needed to provide evaluator expertise in distance education, learning assessment, information technology, administrative service, human resources, governance, and the types of programs the institution offers, such as career and technical education, basic skills or pre-collegiate education, or baccalaureate education.
Evaluators are nominated by the presidents/chancellors of their colleges or districts/systems. Individuals may also self-nominate by sending a letter directly to the ACCJC office (firstname.lastname@example.org). The letter should give the individual’s name, current position, areas of expertise, reasons why he/she wishes to serve on an evaluation team, and current contact information. Letters of self-nomination, must be accompanied by two letters of reference, at least one of which should be from a college administrator from the applicant’s institution. All evaluators are expected to be objective and unbiased; able to apply ACCJC Standards to the institution they are evaluating; work together as a team; be good writers and able to use technology for producing and editing the team report; be analytic thinkers; and able to commit to the time required before, during, and after the visit.
Team members serve on a volunteer basis with the Commission covering all direct costs for team training and the evaluation visit. Evaluators are expected to complete the Accreditation Basics Course, available on the ACCJC website at http://www.accjc-accreditationcourse.org/ prior to their first team experience. Evaluators are required to attend a training workshop each time they serve on an evaluation team. A New Evaluator Training (offered twice per year) is highly recommended and may serve to “fast track” an evaluator’s opportunity for team service. The ACCJC has redesigned their website and there is now a web link to self nominate yourself to be a visiting team member. http://accjc.org/announcement/become-a-visiting-team-evaluator/