Essential characteristics of accreditation site visit team members: a delphi study
The purpose of this study was to produce a list of characteristics that site visit team members should possess. This list of characteristics was created by a panel of experts in specialized programmatic accreditation of allied health educational programs. On average, these experts had participated in 19 site visits. The Delphi process was used to arrive at consensus among these experts. A series of four open-ended questions were distributed to a total of thirty-one expert site visitors. The panel was asked to list the essential characteristics in the following four areas of interest: (1) responsibilities of a site visit team member, (2) the essential attributes of a site visit team member, (3) the knowledge of the accreditation process a site visit team member should possess, and (4) the programmatic evaluation knowledge a site visit team member should possess.
The study was conducted in three rounds. In Round One a list was compiled from all responses from the panel. In Round Two the panel was asked to rate each response on a scale of one to five with one being the least important to five being essential. Only those responses that scored four or higher were included in round three. The panel then rank ordered the responses in numeric order of importance, with one being the most important response. A total of 68 characteristics made the final cut. There were 29 responsibilities of a site visit team member selected by the panel. The panel chose 19 essential attributes. Knowledge of the accreditation process produced 14 responses. The panel selected six responses to reflect the knowledge of programmatic evaluation that a site visit team member should possess.
The results of this study should be incorporated into the curriculum of training courses for site visit team members. In so doing, accreditation agencies can address the concern voiced by some programmatic officials that it is the conduct of the site visit team members during an on-site evaluation, rather than the condition of the program, which leads to a negative accreditation action.