ARForum19 Insights - May, 2019
April Meeting of the ARForum19 Task Force
The Forum Task Force met in Louisville on April 3-4, 2019. On the first day the group heard updates from the Forum Steering Committee (highlighted in the April issue of Insights ), discussed the sections of the 2020 Conditions for Accreditation  not under the purview of the Steering Committee, and discussed changes in the  2020 Procedures for Accreditation . Below is a summary of the meeting.
2020 Conditions for Accreditation
In addition to minor edits throughout the document, the major changes discussed were focused on I.1.1 History and Mission, I.1.2 Learning Culture, and II.2.2 Professional Degrees and Curriculum.
 
I.1.1 History and Mission : The Task Force recommends shifting the focus of this section from the history of the institution and program to the context of both. Further, administrative structure and governance will be considered part of the context, and programs will be asked to describe it in this section rather than as a separate resource. Given the new focus of this section, the Task Force has proposed a new title, I.1.1 Context, Mission, and Administrative Structure/Governance.
 
I.1.2 Learning Culture : This condition has been expanded to Learning and Teaching Culture with anticipated language on expectations and review.

II.2.2 Professional Degrees and Curriculum : The Task Force reviewed the credit requirements specified in the 2014 Conditions , with a particular focus on the group’s research on the credit requirements of the six U.S. regional accreditors. After much discussion, the group concluded with the following two options:
  1. Keep the five categories of credits in Table 1 of the 2014 Conditions and revise the credit minimums.
  2. Only specify total minimum credit requirements for a degree, and require programs to explain how the curriculum delivers satisfactory general studies, optional studies, and professional studies.

2020 Procedures for Accreditation
The major changes proposed to the  Procedures  are in the sections on Terms of Accreditation and Procedures for Continuing Accreditation. In the pursuit of continuous improvement, the Task Force proposes the following changes to the terms of accreditation:
  • Programs that meet all conditions for accreditation will receive an eight-year term.
  • Programs that have unmet conditions must submit a “Plan to Correct” before receiving their term of accreditation.
  • The Plan to Correct states how the program intends to fix conditions not met by the third annual report submission following the visit.
  • Upon review of the Plan to Correct by the NAAB, the program can receive one of two decisions:
  • An eight-year term with Plan to Correct. This decision signifies that the program’s plan is satisfactory. If the program meets the goals/outcomes of its self-defined plan, it will maintain the eight-year term. If the program does not meet the goals/outcomes of its plan, the eight-year term will be reduced to a five-year term.
  • Notice that the Plan to Correct is not satisfactory. The program must revise and resubmit the plan for the next meeting of the Board of Directors.
  • If the revised plan is not satisfactory, or the program does not submit a plan, the program will receive a two-year probationary term.
  • Interim Progress Reports will be replaced by updates on the Plan to Correct as part of the program’s annual report.
 
Changes in the section on Procedures for Continuing Accreditation include the elimination of student work as evidence for accreditation criteria at the level of “understanding.” Course material and other evidence will be sent to the team before the visit, giving the team more time to review material, lessening the amount of material in the team room, and, potentially, shortening the length of the visit. In addition, a proposed change to the exit interviews states that not all team members need to attend.

Other notable points of discussion included
  • Reordering the major sections in the Procedures.
  • Renaming the non-voting team member and providing a better definition of the role and expectations of that individual.
  • Eliminating redundancy and editing for clarify.
"Draft 0" – 2020 Documents
On May 20, 2019, the NAAB will release draft versions of the 2020 Conditions for Accreditation and 2020 Procedures for Accreditation for public review. These working documents will represent the work to date of the Steering Committee and the Task Force leading into ARForum19 in Chicago, July 24. In the spirit of transparency, the NAAB felt it was important to allow public comments before discussions take place at the forum. Please send all comments to forum@naab.org with the subject line “2020 Documents.”
Looking Forward | Providing Feedback
This newsletter will be published on the first Monday of the month. The June 3 edition will include a reminder about the “Draft 0” public comment period leading up to the forum. We welcome your feedback as this process moves forward and encourage you to send your comments on the forum to forum@naab.org .