Consultation Visits

Mandatory: applicants (i.e., units pursuing initial accreditation)

  • All schools and programs with applications accepted by the Council must have a consultation visit.

Mandatory: units outside the US

  • All schools and programs outside the United States must have a consultation visit before they are eligible to begin the application process.

Mandatory: accredited or applicant units who are directed to hold a consultation via official correspondence from the Council

  • The Council may act to require a consultation visit for a specific purpose, e.g., to ensure clarity on identified or possible compliance concerns. This will be communicated in a letter that will explain the consultation's purpose and format.

Optional & may be helpful:

  • Accredited schools and programs with reaccreditation reviews in the coming one to two years
  • Accredited schools and programs considering significant structural or curricular changes
  • Applicants who have already hosted the mandatory visit
  • Universities considering developing an accredited standalone baccalaureate program, MPH program, or school of public health
  • Unaccredited standalone baccalaureate programs or MPH programs interested in applying for accreditation

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 us to request a visit, CEPH staff will determine which consultant is best suited to your visit.

The visit consists of meetings and discussions between school/program personnel who are involved in the accreditation process and the CEPH consultant in an informal, working session format.

The agenda and topics of discussion are at your discretion. CEPH staff can collaborate with you to help guide priorities, but the purpose of the day is to meet your needs and answer your questions. For optional consultation visits, you should only schedule a visit if you have an idea of what you hope to accomplish (e.g., feedback on draft self-study sections, introducing new staff or faculty to accreditation requirements, answering a list of questions, etc.)

CEPH consultants can, upon request, make brief overview presentations outlining the accreditation process and accreditation standards. Consultation visits sometimes involve meetings with university or college administrators, students, alumni, or community members, when relevant, but this is not typical. You should assemble whatever constituents that you think will be important.

Mandatory consultation visits take place on your campus for one full day (unless specifically otherwise noted in a letter from the Council). The CEPH consultant will travel to your location.

There are three possibilities for optional consultation visits--these are only available to accredited schools and programs, applicants that have already hosted a mandatory on-site consultation visit, and units that are not yet applicants for accreditation.

  • Full day in person on your campus
  • Full day using distance-based technology such as Zoom
  • Half-day (3.5 hours) using distance-based technology such as Zoom

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

Exact beginning and ending times are negotiated between the school or program requesting the visit and the CEPH consultant.

Most successful applicants hold their consultation visit around the middle of the two-year applicant period (9-15 months before the preliminary self-study is due). However, it is important that you have a rough draft of your self-study, data templates, and ERF, or, at a minimum, key sections, available to provide to your consultant by 10 days before the visit. Key sections include Criteria B, D, and F for SPH & PHP and Criteria B, C, and G for SBPs.

If you want to have a consultation without draft documents for review, we may be able to accommodate the request, but the visit may not be fruitful. One possible exception: if there were significant concerns identified during your IAS process that you are not sure how to address and that are delaying your self-study progress or if you are stuck and unsure how to resolve some significant issues you have encountered, it may be appropriate to hold your consultation visit sooner, before significant work on the draft self-study is complete. Your staff liaison or Mollie, who schedules all consultations, would be happy to discuss your goals and needs.

Years of experience indicate that waiting and holding the consultation too close to the preliminary self-study due date often means that avoidable problems may go unaddressed and could delay your initial accreditation. Extensions to the applicant period are not uncommon, and 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.

The ‘right’ time for a consult depends on the unit. Your staff liaison can provide guidance, or you may email Mollie Mulvanity, who schedules all consultation visits.

Generally, you should set up your consultation visit for when you need it! Do you have a half-day or full day of questions and discussion material? Most successful consultation visits occur when you have a working draft of relevant document(s) ready for review, but ALSO have enough time to make revisions before they are officially due to CEPH. Relevant document drafts might include the following:

  • self-study and ERF
  • key self-study sections or data templates
  • revised competencies, curricular mapping, and/or syllabi

Rough drafts are fine! Years of experience show us that units with more documents available for review find much more value in the process.

Your draft documents should be provided to your consultant 10 days before the visit, so consider this when planning timing.

If you want to have a consultation without any documents for review, we can accommodate the request, but the visit may not be as fruitful. Your staff liaison or Mollie, who schedules all consultations, would be happy to discuss your goals for the visit.

Because CEPH calendars tend to fill quickly, we typically need at least four months of advance notice for on-campus visits. We can accommodate distance-based visits on shorter notice, but this is dependent on availability.

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.

Once we have agreed on a specific date, you will work with the CEPH staff member serving as your consultant on logistics. Your assigned staff member will reach out to you no later than 6 weeks before an on-campus visit and no later than 3 weeks before a distance-based visit. Contact Mollie if you have consultation logistics questions before you hear from your assigned staff member.

At least 10 days before the visit, you should provide your consultant with an agenda of the day’s activities and topics (we will provide a sample agenda for full-day visits at scheduling).

For distance-based visits, your consultant will set up a Zoom link and provide it to you.

For on-campus visits, the following considerations apply:

  • Hotel - You will need to make a hotel reservation for the consultant. Typically, the CEPH consultant must arrive the night before the visit begins and will depart on the evening of the visit. If it is possible to travel in and out of your location in a single day, the consultant may choose that option and will not require lodging. Note that hotels with amenities such as in-room desks, in-house restaurants, and exercise facilities are preferred.
  • Airport or train station recommendations - The consultant will book their own airline or train tickets, but we may ask for your input.
  • On the agenda, no later than 10 days before the visit, you must provide the following:
    • Hotel address, phone number, and reservation confirmation number
    • Recommendations for transportation between the airport/train station and the hotel (taxi/Uber/Lyft is the typical/preferred method, and a cost/distance estimate is helpful)
    • Information on who will provide transportation between the hotel and the meeting site on campus (typically, a school or program faculty or staff member meets the consultant in the hotel lobby to walk or drive to the meetings)

Costs are listed on the CEPH fee schedule. For on-campus visits, you are also responsible for the consultant’s travel and meal 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.