Wednesday, October 23, 2019

The Day after the Accreditation Visit

I expected to be euphoric, but I am more exhausted than euphoric.  The process has been more like the long slog of dissertation writing and defending, and less like the comprehensive exam part of grad school.

We had 2-3 findings.  They weren't what I might have expected.  They revolved around our Allied Health Program chair and whether or not she had the right credentials to oversee the Medical Office Administration program.  She is the Allied Health chair on 2 campuses, so we might also have that as a finding.

These are fixable findings.  They are also a surprise, because the other campus didn't have the same findings.

Let me remember some of the good feedback of the accreditation visit.

Let me record them, because I am much more likely to remember the negative.

Over and over again, we heard that the students are really happy to be here. Hurrah! That piece makes me happiest, although perhaps I should be happier about the other aspects, like the records maintenance.  But the fact that students reported their satisfaction--that fact makes me happiest of all.

Auditors talked about our warm and welcoming environment. I have often said that I’m not good at hospitality, by which I often mean that I just dump the donuts on a tray, instead of arranging them artfully. But the overall hospitality piece, I think I have mastered. People need food and the key to the bathroom and a choice of beverages. People need as much space as you can spare. People need to arrive and have people greet them with smiles. Those people might be students or auditors or people who are trying to find a different organization that shares our building.

I talked to several auditors about our watchlist process and about how we track students who are in trouble, and while I’m not really convinced that it makes a difference in ways that we can turn into quantifiable statistics, at least it shows that we’re making an effort.

The team leader asked me basic questions about records and SAP and schedules, and I was able to answer them. The Business auditor asked me all sorts of questions, and I didn’t blow it.

At the ending session, the team leader talked about how well organized everything was. We have put an amazing amount of effort into our binders.  We have spent weeks revising and revising, and I genuinely think that the very first efforts that we showed the Corporate team would have been just fine. We added some elements that made the binders slightly easier—more tabs. But did it really make the difference? Doubtful.

Let me also remember the team of people who report to me. I led a very disparate group of Program chairs to a successful visit. Our CVS chair was very new—I coached her and helped with countless revisions and she made important observations/discoveries. The CVS auditor was very thorough—and we were successful. The Business lead faculty member was key to our success in terms of personality—in terms of binders, I did all of the writing and much of the compiling. Our team has a wide variety of skills and personalities, but we pulled together and got the job done.

And now it's time to shift gears again.  Time to return to the business of running a campus.  Let me get ready to start reassembling my life. I need to get back to spin class. I need to get my office organized. Let me start with those 2 things.

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