5 Planning & Hosting Effective WSCUC Site Visit_040315

Planning for and Hosting an Effective
WSCUC Site Visit
Richard Winn, Susan Clapper, and Siobhan Williams
Workshop Topics to be Addressed
 Types of Visits
 Roles and Communications
 Logistics, Timelines, and Schedules
 Resources for the Team
 Team Strategies
 Communications after the visit
Types of Visits
 Seeking Accreditation
Reaffirmation Process
Comprehensive Review
Special Visit
Guide, p. 1
Reaffirmation Visit
Guide, p. 1
Accreditation Liaison Officer (ALO)
• Is the primary contact between WSCUC and the institution for all matters
• Communicates with team members on matters related to visit logistics
WSCUC Staff Liaison
• Is assigned to an institution
• Is the primary person the ALO deals with in all matters related to accreditation
• Works closely with the institution, usually through the ALO, on an ongoing basis • Serves as the conduit for communication from the Commission to the institution
WSCUC Accreditation Process Manager • Schedules the dates for visits
• Invites people to serve on teams
• Sends the final team roster to the institution
• Provides the team members and the ALO with preparation materials for the visit
• Collects documents for and after the visit
Guide, p. 3
Team Selection
Visit teams generally consist of four to seven members (Special Visit teams are usually smaller) composed with a balance of backgrounds, experience, and expertise. 
Once team members have been designated, the WSCUC Accreditation Process Manager sends the team roster and biographies of each evaluator to the CEO and the ALO. 
The institution is asked to review the roster and to identify any team member who is believed to have a conflict that would preclude service on the team. The Commission reserves the right to determine the final team composition. 
For all visits, one member serves as the team chair and one member serves as the assistant chair. Guide, pp. 4-5
Team Roles
The team chair is usually a provost, vice president, or president/CEO. The team chair is often from an institution that is similar in size and/or mission to the institution being reviewed or was previously with a similar institution. The assistant chair is selected for accreditation experience and strong organizational and writing skills. The assistant chair provides key support to the team chair in developing the framework and strategies for the review and preparing the first draft of the team report.  TIP: Before and after the visit, much of the communication will occur with the team chair; during the visit, the ALO will work closely with the assistant chair for logistics, planning, and other team needs.
Guide, pp. 5-6
Before the Visit: WSCUC to ALO
 Initial email communication
 Team roster and team bio information
 Timeline with targeted dates
 Visit logistics survey for the team
 Sample email announcement to the campus community
 Visit schedule template
Guide, p. 8
Before the Visit: ALO to TEAM
 Visit logistics survey  Proposed visit schedule
 Pre‐visit conference call with team  Call with the team chair and CEO
 Final ALO, staff, and team communications  Final team communication (if needed)
Guide, pp. 8-9
Logistics Survey
Sample Visit Timeline
TIP: This will become your friend. Sample Visit Schedule
TIP: This will become you BEST friend.
Tips for Creating a Good Visit Schedule
Avoid having too many meetings with large groups
Schedule lunch and dinner meetings in private rooms
Make certain that the CEO and other key members of the administration and faculty are available during the entire visit 
Schedule some breaks for the team between meetings
Include the location of each meeting on the final schedule 
Provide the team with a list of institutional representatives expected at each group meeting (except the open meetings) 
Allow time between meetings for the members to walk to the next meeting location
On some recent site visits, teams have held all interviews as plenary sessions in a single location, with institutional reps coming to a single location. Ask the team if they may prefer this.
Guide, p. 11
More Tips
Confirm transportation and accommodations arrangements
Expect adjustments to the schedule 
Expect requests for additional documents
Draft, draft, draft, and re‐draft of the site visit schedule
Help keep the team on schedule
Provide team members escorts to meetings
TIP: Be flexible; changes ARE going to happen.
Guide, p. 18
Team Room
 Computers as requested by the team  Copier and a printer that the team members can access electronically through their own computers  Technology supplies, such as flash drives  Telephone with a institutional directory  Office supplies
 Beverages, including coffee, tea, soft drinks, and water, and snacks as appropriate
TIP: The team room should be secure and located in a quiet place. Guide, p. 14
Visit Information to the Campus
Remind the institutional community about the nature and purposes of the visit at least a month before the visit using the sample email message provided by the WSCUC staff. 
Communicate about the visit in a variety of ways, including a posting to the website, emails to various groups, signs and posters, and announcements in classes and meetings. 
Notify the institutional community of the confidential email account that will be open prior to and during the visit. NOTE: this email account closes at the conclusion of the visit.
TIP: Be informative and transparent.
Guide, p. 15
Resources for the Team
Guide, p. 17
Understanding Team Strategies
Predetermined lines of inquiry Structured questions
Focused interviews
Note taking
Document reviews
Evidence of student learning TIP: Hold dry runs with meeting groups (similar to a dress rehearsal).
Guide, pp. 17-18
Communications After the Visit
Draft Team Report and Corrections of Errors of Fact
Final Team Report and Institutional Response
Appearance at the WSCUC Commission Meeting
Commission Meeting and Action Letter
Publication of the Commission Actions
Evaluation of the visit and process
Fees and expenses/billing
TIP: Celebrate your successful (and completed!) visit with your institution.
Guide, pp. 19-22
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