Professional development in accreditation

Last week, I attended the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) conference in Chicago! ASPA is a membership organization for specialized and professional accreditors. ASPA’s mission is to provide “a collaborative forum and a collective voice for organizations that assure the quality of specialized and professional higher education programs and schools.”

CEPH was a founding member and continues as an active participant in ASPA. Approximately 60 specialized accrediting agencies are members. The spring ASPA conference provides professional development and networking opportunities for their members. I had a great time, met new people, and learned some lessons/fun facts along the way!

  1. Of the accrediting agencies at the meeting, only 10% used travel planning software, including CEPH! This spring marks our first season of visits using TripActions. While it can be challenging to begin using a new software, TripActions has allowed us to take some financial burden off of our site visitors. Also, TripActions customer service is phenomenal and has already helped visitors get home after flight cancellations and delays.
  2. A panelist with training evaluation expertise recommended focusing post-training surveys on changes in two to three core “behaviors” within 30-45 days. We are always trying to improve our programming and I look forward to implementing best practices like this one!
  3. During a group discussion, many accreditors talked about the importance of relationship building and engagement during the accreditation process and prefer to have a balance of virtual and in-person meetings for these reasons. This really resonated with me. Reflecting on the relationships I build with schools and programs throughout the accreditation process and with site visitors as we travel the country, I know we could not do our work without the trust that is developed as a result of these relationships.

 While CEPH staff are public health professionals at our core, it is great to have an accreditation community to learn from so that we can continuously improve our own practices.

    --Written by Alexandra DiOrio, MPH