COAPRT Program Review Visits to Take Place Virtually in Academic Years 2020-2021 and 2021-2022
The Council on Accreditation of Recreation, Parks, Tourism and Related Professions (COAPRT) announces a two-year pilot project to implement and consider the effectiveness of virtual visits. For the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic years, program visits will take place virtually. Self-studies will be due no later than December 1. If a program visit is scheduled during the Fall Semester, the self-study must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the scheduled visit date.
Virtual visits will follow, when possible, a standard two-day schedule. Day one will include remote meetings with administrators, faculty, alumni, practitioners, and students. Day two will include significant time for visitors to discuss findings, prepare for exit meetings with faculty and administrators, and for exit meetings to occur. A given program’s virtual visit will take place on a date proposed by the program and respectively assigned by COAPRT. The visitation report and program response deadlines will remain as they are currently stated in the COAPRT Handbook, Section 9. Virtual visit guidelines and an opportunity for training are forthcoming.
In the September following the visit, programs under review will be required to host a one-day one-visitor visit to confirm physical facilities and meet with students, as mandated by the Council on Higher Education Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education. This brief site visit is meant to confirm what the school presented in the self-study and investigate any virtual visitor concerns. This visit may be as short as a morning arrival and evening departure. Results including any discrepancies will be reported to the COAPRT lead reviewer.
COAPRT hearings will take place in late October-early November during the COAPRT meeting that is now uncoupled from NRPA Congress. Hearings will take place virtually according to the policy in Section 10 of the COAPRT Handbook. With the exception of initial accreditation (unless deemed otherwise by the Council), the Program Administrator and Visitation Team Chair are not expected to be physically present in a hearing before the Council. Instead, the Program Administrator and Visitation Team Chair will participate via videoconference as provided by the Council.
Finally, COAPRT acknowledges many accredited programs are currently experiencing financial stress beyond the norm. The implementation of virtual visits and virtual hearings represents a considerable cost savings to programs. We look forward to piloting and evaluating this approach to program review.