Accreditation Tales

stock-photo-empty-brick-walled-corridor--986034The college I work at has several levels of accreditation. The first level is that the school itself has to be accredited by the Private Career Training Institutions Agency of BC – or PCTIA, as we call it, for short.

The college’s accreditation lasts for 5 years, and then we need to be re-accredited, which involves an extended site visit and thorough audit of everything we do. There are miles of paperwork we need to complete – student, faculty, and employee files, proof of our program requirements, and many other things.

Within our college, we have a number of programs that are licensed – meaning they have licensing exams at the end of the program that the courses are designed to prepare students for. These programs have individual regulatory bodies that monitor the program/course outcomes and all aspects of the delivery. The success rate in the licensing exams reflect directly on our accreditation status. For example, in one program, our passing rate has been below the national average for the last two exam sittings. If that happens again, we’ll lose our 5-year accreditation with that regulatory body, and have to go to a yearly schedule – essentially they will keep a closer eye on us to see why students are under-performing.

We have someone who works in a full-time position at the college – her title is Compliance Officer – whose role it is to write reports to the many regulatory bodies that give accreditation to our programs. Each report is unique, but the common elements are the qualifications of the staff delivering the program as well as the staff who manage all the aspects of the program. For example, my name and position as manager of education delivery would be included in the report for all online programs, as well as my resume/credentials for the role.

Typically they also want proof that we are holding meetings – how frequently are they held, what is the process, and where are the minutes. For programs with labs, information about the lab space and equipment is required. The reports are lengthy, tedious, and there are many of them to write.

When I applied for my current position, they were also hiring for the compliance officer role. My background made me a good fit for the latter role, but I didn’t want it. Even when my boss was offering me the job for manager of education delivery, she made one last pitch to get me to consider the compliance role. I was having none of it. I know I could have done it, but it felt too much like technical writing for me, and I don’t want to do that anymore!

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