Interim Reports

Accredited schools and programs are required to submit interim reports when the Council finds noncompliance with one or more accreditation criteria. The Council always defines a specific scope and due date for each interim report.

  1. Format and Structure
  2. Dos and Don’ts
  3. Timing and Consequences

1. Format and Structure

Your interim report submission may contain up to three components:
  • a cover letter
  • the body of the report
  • attachments
You must submit all components in electronic form to submissions@ceph.org. Save each document separately for the electronic submission—do not send your submission as a single pdf file.

The report should be structured exactly as the request for the report was structured in your accreditation decision letter.

Example of request for interim report

The school/program must submit an interim report in spring 2020 that documents that it has:

  1. amassed sufficient faculty resources to support both master’s and doctoral degree programs in epidemiology; (Criterion C2); and
  2. developed and implemented a set of at least five concentration competencies for the master’s degree program in biostatistics that articulates depth or enhancement appropriate for the degree level. (Criterion D4)
Interim report structure

The body of an interim report responding to the request above would contain two sections: each begins with an exact reprint of the Council’s request (a and b above).

Following each reprint, provide a succinct statement that indicates the concrete steps you have taken and any outcome data to date, if available. Outcome data are particularly important when the request relates to tracking specific types of data (eg, graduation rates, job placement rates) or when the request relates to the school/program’s ability to implement its planning and evaluation tools (eg, requests relating to Criterion B5-B6). Use CEPH templates when appropriate.

Example of interim report body

a) In its spring 2019 accreditation decision letter, the Council asked that the school/program document that it has “amassed sufficient faculty resources to support both master’s and doctoral degree programs in epidemiology.” (Criterion C2)

In July 2019, the school/program successfully hired two new assistant professors in epidemiology. Both new faculty members officially began full-time employment on August 1, 2019. At this time, the program/school has six faculty members to support the concentration, four are primary instructional faculty (PIF) and two are part-time, surpassing the minimum required threshold of three PIFs and one non-PIF. The addition of these faculty members also effectively reduces the student-faculty advising ratio in epidemiology. Below, we present updated versions of Templates C2-1, C2-2 and E1-1 reflecting the newly hired faculty and faculty involvement in advising. We attach CVs for the two new faculty hires as Appendix A.

b) The Council also requested that the school/program document that it has “developed and implemented a set of at least five concentration competencies for the master’s degree program in biostatistics that articulates depth or enhancement appropriate for the degree level.” (Criterion D4)

The program director convened an ad hoc competencies committee in July 2019. A list of members appears in Appendix B. The committee… (describe development process and process for vetting concentration competencies). After this process of circulation and approval, the Curriculum Committee approved the competencies in October 2019 and developed an implementation plan (see Appendix C for the relevant excerpt from committee minutes).

The finalized concentration competencies are below:

The implementation plan included a timeline for publishing the competencies on the website and in the student handbook and for sharing competencies with all relevant constituencies by January 2020. Appendix D provides the relevant section from the student handbook.

The implementation plan also defined a process for mapping all competencies to required coursework and making adjustments as needed. That process involved the following steps…

It was completed in March 2020 and all syllabi for fall 2020 have been updated to reflect the adopted competencies. Appendix E provides a matrix mapping the competency set to the required MPH courses in the format of Template D4-1, and Appendix F provides two sample syllabi with learning objectives and their relevant competencies identified.

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2. Dos and Don’ts

  • Do focus your report on specific facts and actions taken. Your response should indicate who took the action and when (specific dates for decisions and implementations).
  • Do provide documentation to support your discussion.
  • Don’t redo one or more sections of your self-study. The interim report should be structured to answer the Council’s specific requests as outlined in your accreditation decision letter, not to answer self-study documentation requests.
  • Don’t respond directly to narrative in the accreditation report. While the report provides important information on the rationale for findings, the letter transmitting the accreditation decision and requesting the interim report should provide the basis for and focus the response.
  • Do ensure that you provide all of the information the Council needs to verify compliance.
  • Don’t weigh your submission down with extraneous or very lengthy appendices.
  • Do answer each component of the interim report request.
  • Don’t address topics outside the scope of the Council’s request. If you have two interim reports due in different seasons (eg, one in spring 2020 and one in spring 2021), confine each report to the items requested for that report.
  • Don’t include information on substantive changes in an interim report. CEPH has prepared information about notices of substantive change, which provides additional guidance. Substantive changes must be submitted as a separate document, though they may be submitted for consideration at the same meeting as your interim report, if appropriate.
  • Do contact CEPH staff for guidance, if needed.
  • Do consult the Council’s technical assistance paper on interim reports.

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3. Timing and Consequences

The Council will, in most cases, define a due date that is one year (or less) from the time of the decision that gave rise to the interim report request. The Council expects that schools and programs will be able to demonstrate full compliance (and document the compliance adequately) in the interim report.

If the school or program does not demonstrate compliance in the report, or if the report does not provide sufficient information to allow the Council to verify compliance, the Council may choose from a variety of options, including the following:

  • requiring additional written reporting (another interim report) within one year of the initial interim report submission
  • requiring submission of a focused self-study document and conduct of a site visit that addresses any outstanding compliance issues within six to nine months of the initial interim report submission
  • placing the school or program on probationary accreditation for a one-year period or less
The Council may choose more than one of these options, eg, the Council may confer probationary accreditation AND require submission of a focused self-study and conduct of a site visit.

If the school or program is not able to demonstrate full compliance and document the compliance adequately at this second opportunity, the Council is required by federal regulations that govern recognized accrediting agencies to revoke accreditation.*

 *In exceptional circumstances, the Council may extend the time by one additional year if it finds good cause. The US Department of Education requires that such extensions be used sparingly, if at all. (34 CFR §602.20 (b))

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