How to Form a Great Advisory Committee
What is an Advisory Committee really? This Standards requirement is frequently misunderstood.
The role of an Advisory Committee is simple: to provide input, guidance, recommendations regarding your program, and to review and revise the program goals as necessary.
For an Advisory Committee to be maximally effective, a broad representation of the communities of interest is vital. What exactly does this mean? A community of interest may be defined as: a community of people who share a common interest or passion.
Practically speaking, how does this relate to your program? The first question is: who are the individuals most impacted by our program? The answers will vary but probably include the individuals in the following categories:
Area employers should be a primary component, both in numbers and sources (who better to provide feedback on how your graduates - or your product - function in the field?)
The hospitals or other clinical areas where students complete clinical rotations must be participants: this includes both nursing and physician representatives. These individuals can provide important information on this critical student experience.
Some of the EMS agencies that provide field internship for your students may not be agencies that hire your graduates but should be included.
Students and graduates provide an additional view point and should represent the current and more recent (and therefore, more relevant) perspectives on the current program.
Someone representing the general public is a common addition to any Advisory Committee to provide an 'outside' or consumer perception that is valuable.
Depending on your location, relationships, and circumstances, representatives from other groups such as the local law enforcement community may be appropriate. Remember, program faculty and administration representatives are basically ex-officio members.
The Advisory Committee meetings provide a time to update the representatives on your activities, but should primarily serve to evaluate the program, review progress toward the goals, and discuss the future. And lastly, the committee should select a chair that is not a faculty member or representative of the program: the chair should come from the communities of interest.
What Happens After You Submit Your Initial or Continuing Self Study Report?
You achieved the first major milestone - submitting the Initial-Accreditation Self Study Report (ISSR) or the Continuing-Accreditation Self Study Report (CSSR). Congratulations! What's next? You get to take a deep breath and celebrate the accomplishment. It may feel like a long time before you hear from CoAEMSP; however, the staff is working to process your SSR and has several processes going on simultaneously: reviewing the self study for completeness and content AND securing a site visit team.
Once CoAEMSP receives your SSR, here is what happens:
1. Your SSR is reviewed (by Karen) to ensure all the components are there, including the:
- Current CAAHEP Request for Accreditation Services
- Student Questionnaires (these are not the same as the student resource surveys)
- Executive Read Fee in the amount of $500
- Prorated Annual Fee, maximum of $1200--call Karen at the CoAEMSP Executive Office for amount (ISSR only)
- Initial Technology Fee in the amount of $250 (ISSR only)
- Site Visit Deposit in the amount of $1000
2. An email is sent (by Karen) to the program director, dean, and the State EMS Director acknowledging receipt of the SSR, with a request for any of the above items if they are missing.
3. A request is made by Jennifer for site visit dates, unless already received.
4. The SSR is forwarded to the Self Study Reader when the submission is complete.
5. The Self Study Reader, who has a doctorate and is a Paramedic educator, reads the SSR and writes an Executive Analysis (EA). The EA identifies areas in the program that have either potential problem areas, are unclear, or are clearly answered. The EA is reviewed (by Dr. George Hatch), who sends a copy of the EA to the program director. Dr. Hatch then either gives approval to confirm the site visit dates or requests additional information if it pertains to sponsorship. The program is asked to make "in-flight" corrections prior to the site visit. (If sponsorship is unclear, then the site visit is put on hold until the program's sponsorship is clear.)
6. The site visit dates are confirmed (by Jennifer) and the program and site visit team are directed coordinate the agenda and begin making logistical arrangements. This is done at least 6 to 8 weeks before a site visit.
Tips to Minimize the Time Between Submission of Your ISSR and the Site Visit
1. If you are part of a consortium, contact Dr. Hatch via email or phone (817.330.0080 x112) during the development phase of the ISSR.
2. Submit a complete SSR.
3. Submit the site visit information form, which asks for site visit dates, as soon as possible. Contact Jennifer (or 817.330.0080 x114) when you know the submission date of the ISSR to discuss the months when a site visit is possible.
4. Appoint a proctor to administer student surveys and have the proctor mail the completed surveys just prior to or simultaneously as the program submits its SSR.
5. Be patient!
Resources for Becoming Accredited
45 new ISSRs were received for the January 1, 2011, deadline for programs that have a program director without a Bachelor's degree and submitting an ISSR! This was in addition to the already scheduled CSSRs. Staff is diligently working to process each SSR. If you have a question on the status of the ISSR, contact Karen (or 817.330.0080, x111.
There are numerous resources available on the CoAEMSP website accreditation page to help you with the accreditation process. Be sure to use them!