2.3.5. Letter of Instruction and the Site Visit Schedule

The site visit schedule, including visits to off-campus sites, must be arranged in advance of the visit by the site visitor and program directors.

Letter of Instruction to the Site Visitor

A copy of the Letter of Instruction to the Site Visitor is provided to program's primary contact for guidance in working with the site visitor to set up the visit and for informational purposes. The site visitor and program director use the letter to create the site visit schedule, including with whom the visitors will meet and the specific times and locations where the meetings will occur. If an institution hosts both a master's and a baccalaureate program, they can elect to coordinate both visitors and conduct both visits simultaneously, but a separate visitor will be assigned to each program level.

The program prepares for the visit by considering how it might respond to the questions raised in the letter during the site visit. The COA does not expect the program to take formal action on the letter of instructions nor to submit a response to it before the site visit. Site visitors are instructed not to request the Program Response in advance of the site visit.

Site Visitor Arrival

During the first evening site visitors generally work alone to prepare for the visit. Program directors may meet with site visitors to extend a brief welcome, explain the itinerary, answer any questions, and outline the arrangements to escort them to the campus. During the site visit, evenings are reserved for site visitors to work on the site visit report and prepare for the exit interview. No social events should be planned for the site visitors.

Meeting with the Institutional Administrators

The COA expects the site visit to begin with the institution’s chief executive officer and other institutional administrators. The program director should escort the site visitor to the office of the chief executive officer of the institution and, after introductions, permit the site visitor to meet alone with the chief executive officer or his or her designee. The purpose of this meeting is to explain the accreditation process, learn more about the role and place of the program within the institution’s system, answer any questions the president or chancellor may have, and to collect any information related to EPAS listed in the COA Letter of Instructions to the site visitor. When it is impossible to meet with the institution’s chief executive officer, it is acceptable to meet with his or her designee.

Meetings with the Social Work Program

The schedule may also include meetings with the program director, faculty members, the director of the field practicum, field instructors, students, the librarian, and other individuals whose presence is relevant (such as faculty concerned with ethnic or gender issues) to the issues raised in the Letter of Instructions to the Site Visitor. The purpose of these meetings is to assess the program in relation to the instructions given in the COA Letter of Instruction to the Site Visitor.

The COA does not require or recommend dismissing classes during the site visit. It is advised that the schedule be planned to permit participation by all constituents without disrupting the academic schedule.

Additional Materials

If the program provides additional information to the site visitor during the site visit, the program is responsible for appending that information to the program response. The COA uses the site visit report and the program’s response to make a decision on the program’s reaffirmation. Site visitors should not forward program materials to CSWE on the program's behalf.

Exit Interview

Site visitors hold an exit interview with the program director to convey the findings for inclusion in the site visit report. The program and/or site visitor will determine if additional constituents (administration, faculty, etc.) should be present. The program director may ask questions, comment on the findings, and/or correct any inaccuracies. Site visitors may respond to questions but not make judgments of whether the program is in compliance with EPAS, as that judgment rests with the COA.

Site visitors should remind programs that the findings, along with the programs’ response to site visit reports, are reviewed by the COA before making a decision about compliance. Site visitors should explicitly inform the institution and program that the COA will notify them of its decision about program compliance and concerns, and that it is possible that the COA’s analysis will differ from that of the site visitors.

After the visit has concluded, contact between the program and site visitor should end. If the program has additional questions or comments after the visit, the program should contact its accreditation specialist or associate. The program does not provide a copy of its response to the site visitor.