ACAOM has prescribed forms to be used by schools to submit applications, notifications, requests, and reports in connection with the accreditation process:
- Letter of Intent
- Annual Report
- Interim Report
- Monitoring Report
- Self Study Report
- Scheduling a Site Visit
- Approving of a Proposed Site Visit Team
- Eligibility Report
- Substantive Change Request
- Formal Institutional Response to site visit report
- Reconsideration and Appeal
- Workshop registration
These items are spelled out in more detail below.
Letter of Intent
Prior to attending the mandatory Self-Study Workshop (for a master’s program) and the submission of a Self-Study Report (master’s-level and doctoral programs), the program must submit a “Letter of Intent” to pursue preaccreditation (Candidacy), accreditation, or reaccreditation status, which has been authorized by the institution’s governance structure.
The letter of intent must be received by the Commission’s office no later than September 1 for a program to be reviewed for at the Commission’s summer meeting, or by March 1 to be reviewed at the Commission’s winter meeting.
There is no template for this submission, however institutions should limit the size of this document to no more than 1 1/2 pages in length and must include a completed "Attachment 1" to the Letter of Intent.
Each April and October, designated Candidacy and accredited programs are required to complete and submit an annual report. This report’s purpose is to provide ACAOM with information on institutions/programs between the comprehensive review (self study report and site visit). At times, these reports may result in a requirement to submit a Substantive or Non-Substantive Change form. The annual report consists of a statistical component (Part I) and a narrative (Part II). The templates are sent to the designated programs from the Executive Office
Annual Report: Statistical Template (sent by Executive Office)
Narrative (sent by Executive Office)
The Commission takes action on candidacy following its review of an institution’s compliance with Commission Eligibility Requirements. The Commission takes action on initial or re-accreditation following its review of the institution's compliance with the appropriate Standards/Criteria. Such action could require, among other items, an Interim Report, a Supplemental Information Report, and/or a Monitoring report.
When a Interim Report is required of an institution, the Commission is looking for progress towards achieving the standards and/or criterion with which the school was either not in compliance with or was at risk of losing compliance. Specifically the Commission may direct the institution/program to describe in an interim report its progress relative to remediating findings of the Commission on candidacy/accreditation or at any time during the candidacy/accreditation period. The Commission also may require the institution/program to address activities that were being planned or implemented at the time of the on-site evaluation to enhance institutional/program effectiveness.
There is no predefined template for an Interim Report and direction on the nature and scope of this report will be provided by ACAOM at the time that the Interim Report requirement is communicated to the applicable institution.
Following Commission action, the institution is sent an Action Letter that specifies the action taken and any follow up activities that are required by the institution/progam. If your institution was provided this level of direction in your most recent Action Letter, you must respond to the specific standards and/or criterion that were indicated by the due date specified.
Please refer to your Action Letter to develop the appropriate responses and submit it in a Monitoring (Progress) Report.
Self Study Reports
During the candidacy period, the program should focus on implementing its plans for meeting the Standards and Criteria for accreditation and implementing its Self-Study process according to the guidance provided by ACAOM Self-Study Guide. The term “self-study” is intended to convey the concept that self-study is, in itself, an assessment, examination and evaluation of the institution/program, whether it be a program in a small specialized institution or one in a large departmentalized institution, by the entire educational community - board, faculty, students, administration and staff.
The process culminates in the drafting of the findings and recommendations of the self-study for the program's own action. This report of the collected findings, data and other materials is called the “Self- Study Report.” The self-study should not be viewed as a single purpose, one-time event required to achieve initial or renewed accreditation. Rather, the self-study process and the documentation of outcomes are most effective when there is a broad and ongoing institutional and program commitment to assessment.
Approving of a Proposed Site Visit Team and Scheduling a Site Visit
Preparing for and participating in a Site Visit requires multiple steps, from identification of proposed dates, development and approval of a team of Site Visitors, to actually conducting the site visit ad producing the Site Visit Report. The specifics of this entire process have been outlined in an ACAOM manual.
Click on the link below to access this manual.
"Site Visit Preparation: An ACAOM Institutional Guide"
If your institution is now at the stage in the accreditation process of requesting a site visit, the ACAOM Executive Office will be contacting you to coordinate the potential site visit dates.
The program develops an Eligibility Report that addresses and documents compliance with ACAOM standards, with particular emphasis placed on compliance with each of the Eligibility Requirements and its progress and action plans for meeting fully the Standards and Criteria for Accreditation.
The program submits its Eligibility Report, along with a non-refundable review fee (click here to view the list of ACAOM fees), to ACAOM by October 1 if the program is to be considered for candidacy at a summer Commission meeting or by April 1 for consideration at a winter Commission meeting.
A pre-existing template does not exist for an Eligibility Report. However the report submitted must be prefaced by a completed Eligibility Report cover sheet. Commission staff reviews the report for completeness and substance to assess whether the program is ready for a site visit. Before an Eligibility Report can be accepted for processing, it must present a factual and complete compilation of narratives with supporting documentation, where applicable, providing evidence that the program meets each of Eligibility Requirements and its progress and action plans for meeting fully the Standards and Criteria for Accreditation. (click here to access the ACAOM Standards and Criteria Handbook.) For master’s level programs, please refer to the document entitled "Guide for Preparing the Eligibility Report (Master's Level Programs)”.
Substantive and Non-Substantive Changes
Candidacy and accreditation of an institution or program takes into consideration many aspects of the institution and/or program. If some of the specifics of the institution/program change after Candidacy/accreditation is granted, ACAOM needs to be aware of these changes in order to evaluate any potential impact on the status. In some instances, based on the nature of the change, an ACAOM site visit may be required. In such instances, you will be notified by ACAOM of this requirement once we have received and reviewed your Substantive and Non-Substantive Change Form.
Please contact the ACAOM Executive Office to obtain the appropriate substantive change form to apply to ACAOM for these changes.
Refer to the ACAOM Policies & Procedures Handbook for types of Substantive and Non-Substantive changes.
Candidate programs - see policy 1.14.2
Candidate programs - see policy 1.14.1
Accredited programs - see policy 2.14.2
Accredited prorgams - see policy 2.14.1
For ACAOM accredited schools/programs, adding a First Professional Doctorate program in acupuncture and/or Oriental medicine is done through the 'Substantive Change for ACAOM Accredited Programs Offering of First Professional Doctorate in English' application process. Contact the Executive Office for additional information.
Submission of Formal Institutional Response to Site Visit Report
At the conclusion of a scheduled Site Visit, you are provided the opportunity to review the draft site visit report developed by the site visit team prior to its submission to ACAOM. Once received by ACAOM, you are then required to provide a Formal Institutional Response (FIR) to the site visit report. Although there is no set template for your response, you must indicate if you: (a) concur or disagree with the contents of the site visit report, and (b) explain what areas you disagree with, if applicable. Please note that you formal response should be no more that 15 pages in length. Your formal Response to the Site Visit Report must be received by ACAOM within 10 calendar days of when the institution receives the site visit report from the Executive Office.
Submission of Appeal Documents
The Commission's reconsideration and appeal processes are the exclusive procedures available for review and re-examination of the following Commission actions: initial denials of Candidacy or Accreditation, withdrawal of Candidacy or Accreditation, Probationary Candidacy or Probationary Accreditation. Appeals must be submitted in writing and must be accompanied by the prescribed fee prior to consideration (click here for a listing of all dues and fees).
A letter specifying any of the above official actions of the Commission shall be sent to the Chief Executive Officer of the institution and shall include a notice to the program of the right to request reconsideration or appeal of the Commission's action. A request for reconsideration must be made before an appeal is filed. An appeal may not be made without first exhausting the Commission's reconsideration procedures.
Click here to view the detailed process and procedures of associated with the Appeals process (see section 3.5).