Because schools are quite different from one another, situations change over time, and external influences and internal conditions vary, many approaches to Self-Study are possible for institutions within the framework provided by ACCPAS. In making decisions regarding the most appropriate approaches to be used, a school should consider the following:
- The Self-Study process chosen should involve as many individuals as possible who are engaged in the work of the school. It is essential that the faculty be involved in the process of Self-Study in a manner and on a schedule consistent with the organizational structure of the school.
- The approach selected should be attuned to the current order of institutional priorities. To the extent possible, important internal priorities and problems should not be set aside while the accreditation review is underway.
- The approach selected should use recent or current institutional research or self-evaluation.
- The approach selected must be sufficiently general and carried out with appropriate depth and access to basic information so that ACCPAS can fulfill its basic function of accountability. This provides a means through which the school’s programs can be justified according to its stated mission, goals, and objectives. To the fullest extent possible, the process should focus on artistic and educational results, and the implications of these results for the future of the school’s programs, procedures, and processes concerned. In this way, the evidence of institutional effectiveness is used to improve the programs and processes on a continuing basis.
- The approach used should yield a readable, concise, but substantive Self-Study document that can be used as a basis for (a) internal planning by faculty members, administrators, trustees, and others and (b) the use of ACCPAS visiting evaluators and Commissioners. The Self-Study document should go beyond mere description and dwell primarily on analysis, interpretation, and projection.
- One of the goals of the Self-Study process should be to foster continuous analysis and planning at the institution. What happens in the long term after ACCPAS has completed its immediate work is as important as the accountability and short-range improvement aspects of the process.
For further information, see the ACCPAS Procedures for Accreditation, Part II — The ACCPAS Self-Study Document.