Over the years hundreds of ICT professionals have volunteered their time and expertise to help assure quality in computing education.
CIPS program evaluators find the experience of serving on accreditation review and evaluation teams to be personally and professionally rewarding for a variety of reasons, including opportunities to:
- Help assure that CIPS accreditation criteria reflect contemporary practice and the expectations of the profession
- Gain insight into “best practices” and trends in education and the particular characteristics of individual schools and programs; and
- Benefit from interaction and networking with committed peers.
Volunteer! Become a CIPS Program Evaluator!
CIPS could not perform its accreditation activities without its volunteers – professionals who are passionate about improving their professions through quality education. Volunteers evaluate program material and visit campuses, and actively participate in accreditation decisions. Volunteers play an essential role in assisting institutions to improve their academic programs.
Most CIPS volunteers begin their service as Accreditors in Training. Accreditors in Training first take the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada Basic Site Evaluator Course. Following the completion of this course, accreditors in training are added to an experienced accreditation team and have an observer role.
The Role of the Program Evaluator
Academic programs are evaluated against a set of specific criteria. These criteria outline the requirements for student support, quality and appropriateness of faculty and facilities, relevance of curriculum, continuous quality improvement processes, and other key program areas. It is the program evaluator’s job to determine if these criteria are met.
The work of a program evaluator begins with a review of the self-study report, which is prepared by the program seeking accreditation. The self-study report contains information about the institution, as well as detailed information that illustrate how the academic program meets the evaluation criteria.
The program evaluator travels to the campus with one or more additional program evaluators and an evaluation team leader. The program evaluator spends approximately two days investigating his or her assigned program with the help of the program’s chair and faculty. Travel expenses for the on-site visit are reimbursed by CIPS.
On-site visit activities include:
- verifying the information provided in the self-study report
- observing classes;
- interviewing students, faculty members, administrators, and staff;
- visiting classrooms, labs, and other key facilities; and
- reviewing textbooks, course syllabi, student work and assessment materials.
Based on a review of the self-study report and observations made on campus, the program evaluators prepare a draft report describing how well the program met CIPS criteria.
After the On-Site Visit
After the visit, the accreditation team prepares a report. The report is presented to the school for a check of factual errors, then finalized and provided to the Accreditation Council for a decision on accreditation. This then completes the accreditation review.
Training for program evaluators is offered throughout the year via online training. Please contact the CIPS Accreditation Secretariat for more assistance.
Program Evaluator Candidate Training
This is CIPS’ basic training course for prospective program evaluators. Successful completion of the training is the first step in becoming an CIPS Program Evaluator. The entire process consists of three separate steps:
- an online learning experience
- face-to-face facilitated instruction
The online portion of the training typically takes about a day and requires the completion of Association for Accrediting Agencies of Canada online course. Once the online training is complete, then attend an accreditation visit as an “Accreditor in Training”.
Team Chair Training
Over time, many successful evaluators ascend into leadership roles within CIPS as team chairs. There is no special training for team chairs, and experience is mainly gained on-the-job.
Current Program Evaluators
Information for Program Evaluators
The following public information is available to program evaluators and team chairs.
Training for program evaluators is offered throughout the year via the Association of Accrediting Agencies of Canada (AAAC) online training module. This training can be accessed by accreditors who are new or those that have been actively involved in accreditation.
Topics covered in the course include:
• the accreditation process and how the assessor fits within that process;
• how accreditation fits in the educational and professional system;
• key steps in the accreditation process;
• the attributes of an assessor;
• responsibilities of an assessor;
• the key elements of evidence gathering;
• the key objectives of a review;
• the interviewing procedure and its importance in the accreditation process; and
• the main purpose of the accreditation review report and how it’s prepared.
For questions about training, accreditation visits and scheduling, contact the Accreditation Secretariat.