Consultation Visits

  • All schools and programs with applications accepted by the Council must have a consultation visit.
  • All schools and programs outside the US must have a consultation visit before submitting an application.

Consultation visits are not mandatory for, but may be helpful to, the following groups:

  • Universities considering developing an accredited MPH program or school of public health
  • Unaccredited MPH programs interested in applying for accreditation
  • Accredited schools and programs with reaccreditation reviews in the coming one to two years
  • Accredited schools and programs considering significant structural or curricular changes

On-site consultation visits are generally one full business day unless otherwise specified. Distance-based consultation visits are generally a half day unless otherwise specified.

The exact beginning and ending times can be negotiated between the school or program requesting the visit and the CEPH consultant.

Consultation visits can take place in person or remotely using technology based on the following considerations:

  • Mandatory consultation visits take place at your university, and the CEPH consult will travel to your location.
  • Accredited schools and programs and applicants who have already hosted an on-site consultation visit can travel to the CEPH office in Silver Spring, MD, for a half-day consultation visit.
  • Accredited schools and programs and applicants who have already hosted an on-site consultation visit can request a half-day or full-day consultation visit using distance-based technology such as Skype, GoToMeeting and Google Hangouts. Schools and programs with specific questions and topics to address and those with well-developed drafts of the self-study are good candidates for a remote consultation visit.

The consultation visit is established to clarify the accreditation process in each institution’s specific context. The day’s agenda and topics of discussion are completely at your discretion. For this reason, it is best to schedule a consultation visit after you have developed a list of questions or concerns about the accreditation process, the self-study and/or the site visit.

CEPH consultants can, upon request, make brief overview presentations outlining the accreditation process and accreditation standards. In general, however, the day is most productively spent as an interactive, working session. You should assemble whatever constituents that you think will be important. Typically, much or all of the day involves discussions between those who will be responsible for the accreditation process and the CEPH consultant in an informal question and answer format. Consultation visits sometime involve meetings with university or college administrators, students, alumni or community members, when relevant.

Video conferencing technology makes it possible to conduct meetings with individuals in multiple geographic locations, allowing schools and programs to include faculty and/or students who may be in locations other than the campus.

Distance-based consultation visits eliminate most of the associated costs. Schools and programs are charged the half- or full-day consultation fee, but do not have to pay any travel or living expenses.

Distance-based consultation visits also give the consultant more time to prepare for the visit since time spent traveling is eliminated.

The CEPH schedule of site visits and consultation visits continues to increase, and it can be more difficult to accommodate consultation visits at certain times of the year. Distance-based visits allow for greater staff availability. In addition, inclement weather and travel delays are not usually a concern.

Please note that a distance-based consultation visit is not an alternative to the mandatory on-site consultation visit that applicants must host.

You should first choose several specific dates that will work for you and the others who will be participating in the visit. Email Mollie Mulvanity, [email protected], with “consultation visit” as the subject line. Indicate when you would like to have your visit and what, in general, you hope to discuss or accomplish during the visit.

In general, applicants pursuing initial accreditation should have their consult visit within 6-12 months of being accepted. Extensions to the applicant period are not uncommon, but one way to prevent the need for an extension is to have the consult visit early enough that issues can be identified and addressed within the regular applicant period.

Regardless of timing, SPH/PHP applicants must have at least a rough draft of the data templates completed and SBP applicants must have a draft of criteria 4.0 and 5.0 completed. The more information you can provide to your consultant, the better guidance you will receive. Additional guidance on timing is available below:

If you are working on... You might want to have a consult visit...
Issues noted in IAS acceptance letter (curriculum, governance/structural issues), Goals/evaluation measures, Curriculum ASAP
Competencies, Data Collection, Assessment 10-18 months before a preliminary s-s due
Clarifying, Double-checking 4-6 months before preliminary s-s due

The ‘right’ time for a consult depends on the unit.  For individual support and guidance on when to have your consult visit, email Mollie Mulvanity.

Because CEPH calendars tend to fill quickly, we typically need at least four months of advance notice. We may be able to accommodate a distance-based consultation visit with shorter notice.

Once you have agreed on a specific date, you will work with the CEPH staff member serving as your consultant on logistics.

  • Typically, the CEPH consultant must arrive the night before the visit begins, so you can anticipate that the consultant will generally require a hotel reservation. If it is possible to fly in and out of your location on a single day, the consultant may choose that option and will not require lodging.
    • You should provide recommendations on the most convenient airport or train station. The consultant will book her own airline or train tickets.
    • You should book the consultant’s hotel room and should send her the hotel address, phone and confirmation number no later than one week before the visit.
    • Hotels with amenities such as in-room desks, in-house restaurants and exercise facilities are preferred.
  • At least 10 days before the visit, you should also provide the following:
    • recommendations for transportation between the airport/train station and the hotel (taxi is the typical/preferred method, and a cost/distance estimate is helpful)
    • information on transportation between the hotel and the meeting site (typically, a school or program faculty or staff member meets the consultant in the hotel lobby)
    • an agenda of the day’s activities and topics

The fee for an on-site consultation visit is listed on the CEPH fee schedule. You are also responsible for the consultant’s travel and living expenses. CEPH will send you an invoice after the visit is complete. If you have questions about billing or require particular documentation, email [email protected]. Consultants will not be able to fill out university-specific forms on-site, though you can send any required forms to [email protected] before the invoice is completed.

Senior CEPH staff members conduct consultation visits. All are experienced with  all types of institutions in different stages of development and can discuss a range of topics. When you contact Mollie to request a visit, CEPH staff will determine which consultant is best suited to your visit.