Development of the Self-Study Report is the first and arguably most important step in the accreditation process. It serves as an opportunity for a Program to engage in a process of rigorous self-assessment and improvement against nationally recognized quality indicators.
The self-study process is a major undertaking rather than a cursory review of the Program. The resulting self-study is used by the visitation team as the primary document in the Council’s evaluation of the Program. The self-study is thus pivotal to the success and efficiency of the entire review process. The self-study must include clear and compelling evidence of compliance with each of the standards.
COAPRT has developed a Self-Study Format and Template document to assist Programs with the completion of their Self-Study. This was created to help make the Self-Study focus upon content rather than appearance of the document. To do this, the Sections A-E below are contained within the template and cells for each standard require discussion of compliance and related links.
As of October 2020, this template’s use is optional for Programs to submit their Self-Study. Use of the template is mandatory for Programs submitting Self-Studies in conjunction with hearings to be held during the Fall of 2022.
If completing a self-designed Self-Study without utilizing the template above, and to assist the Visitors and the Council members in their reviews, it is important to employ a standard outline in writing the self-study. Thus, the Self-Study Report must utilize the following format:
(a) Outside Cover and Title Page specifying:
- Name of the Institution
- Name and contact information for the CEO of the Institution
- Name of the Parks, Recreation, Tourism and Related Professional Specializations Program
- Title of the Report
- Date of the Report
(b) Table of Contents
(c) Foreword: The Foreword includes a description of the process used in the development of the self-study (e.g., who was involved, how evidentiary artifacts were identified and collected); the scope of the program offerings and specializations for which accreditation is being sought; and if the Self-Study Report is for continuing accreditation, briefly mention significant events since the previous accreditation.
(d) Body of the Report: In the body, each major section of the standards must be clearly delineated (e.g., 1.00 Eligibility Criteria). Further, the document should list each standard by number and written description; then describe the evidence that demonstrates that the standard is being met. In many cases, hyperlinks may be used to point the reader to specific information that is published online. Self-study authors may also establish websites on which appendices and supporting documents are published. Regardless, two things are critical. One, the links are available to all reviewers, and without requiring registration to third-party websites, from the time of submission through the hearing. Two, links point directly to the specific supporting information and not just to the first page of a document thereby requiring the reviewer to search for the specific evidence.
Thoughtful naming of files and links within the self-study expedites reviews significantly. Campus information technology staff may be of assistance when working on this aspect of the self-study.
Tables. For efficiency and readability, whenever appropriate tables may be utilized to present data. Please provide any explanatory information to make the table clear.
(e) Appendices Website
Appendices may include such documents and resources as the following. As discussed above, links to information on websites may be used instead of copying the resources to the self-study itself:
- Degree requirements for all Programs being considered for accreditation
- Assessment Plan—written assessment plan and associated assessment reports and or internal Program review documents. Assessment plans are dynamic documents that are updated frequently per Standard 2.05 and are compatible with the expectations of the regional accrediting association and the institution (Standard 2.05.01). An assessment plan identifies learning outcomes established by the program, how students are provided with opportunities to learn the requisite information and/or skills, the measures used to assess the learning and their rigor, the frequency with which and how the assessment measures are implemented, and the performance target indicating successful outcome achievement. An assessment report restates all of the information in the assessment plan then reports on the assessment results.
- Faculty Vitae
- Course Syllabi and Outlines—course outlines for all courses that aid in meeting one or more standards must be provided. Please note, however, that the Council does not recommend any particular format for course outlines. We do recommend that the format be consistent and the outlines be clear, comprehensive, and clearly reflect the evidence for achievement of student outcomes. A topical outline and tentative class schedule showing material covered throughout the semester should be included with each course syllabus. If a course has associated web-based pages (e.g., Blackboard, Canvas), providing complete URL information that is accessible, to reviewers without third-part site registration, to must be used.
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