Tips for a Smoother Accreditation Process
- Curb assessors' travel costs. Wake Forest University (N.C.) lent their assessors a university vehicle, organized work-related meals, and housed them at one of the institution's hotels. "Get creative," advises Police Chief Regina Lawson. "I'm sure if you have an empty residence hall, they are not above staying [there] or in a guest apartment."
- Be prepared for extra must-have's. Some standards may require additional expenditures (such as a certain brand of lockers for storing evidence or reconfiguring card access) to be in compliance, Lawson notes. Thoroughly examining standards in advance may help.
- Get the whole department -- and even beyond -- involved. "Accreditation has to be a team effort," says Michael Sippey of Duquesne University (Pa.). Paul Ominsky, Princeton's director of public safety and chief of police, suggests getting work-study students or interns involved in helping with paperwork. In his former job at Mount Holyoke College (Mass.), he says public safety used student interns to carry out filing, typing, and other tasks during the college's accreditation process.
- Be ready for next time. Just because an accreditation has just completed doesn't mean that an institution is done - it still has to remain prepared for the next process: re-accreditation.
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