Volunteer to Pilot the Program Accreditation process

Piloting the Program Accreditation Process

The Think College National Coordinating Center's Accreditation Workgroup is currently seeking college or university programs for students with intellectual disability (ID) to pilot a program accreditation process. A total of five programs will be involved in the pilot, helping to finalize a program accreditation process that can be used to accredit programs for students with ID nationwide.

For programs who may be interested in volunteering, below are answers to some frequently asked questions about the pilot process,




What types of programs are being selected to pilot the accreditation process for higher education programs who serve students with intellectual disability?
The goal of the pilot is to test and refine the accreditation process that has been developed by the NCC Accreditation Workgroup. We seek a variety of types of institutions of higher education (IHE) to participate as pilot sites, including public and private four-year institutions, community colleges and technical colleges. This will provide the most useful information as the accreditation process is refined. The ideal candidates are IHE and program directors who will be a learning partner during this process.


How many pilot sites will participate over the next few years?
Five programs will pilot the accreditation process between 2022-2025. The first pilot site was selected from the list of program directors who had expressed interest in the past in piloting the accreditation process, is an existing program, and is very familiar with the program accreditation standards. The remaining pilot sites will be selected from those who complete the interest form in Fall 2022.


What program standards will be used in the pilot?

The accreditation standards that will be used for this pilot were fully developed and released by the 2015-2020 NCC Accreditation Workgroup: Program Accreditation Standards for Higher Education Programs for Students with Intellectual Disability


How similar or different is this to other program accreditation processes in which our college or university have participated?
The process will be very similar to existing program accreditation processes that you may be familiar with. Programs will complete a self-study, host a site visit, engage stakeholders, meet with the peer review team made up of program experts from across the nation, and receive an accreditation determination report.


What additional resources may be needed if a program participates as a pilot site?
Each program director will have to determine what additional resources they might need from their department or institution. Program directors will receive support from the NCC Accreditation Pilot Site team (experts in the field) who are charged with supporting the program throughout their piloting of the accreditation process.


How long will piloting the accreditation process take?
We anticipate that the accreditation process will take no less than 12 months and no more than 15 months, depending on the program’s readiness to demonstrate how they meet the program accreditation standards.


What does our program receive if we participate?
Throughout the pilot accreditation process, pilot sites will receive information similar to a program evaluation - and will be asked to provide feedback to the NCC Accreditation Workgroup and Pilot team about the program’s experience. Upon completion of piloting the accreditation process, programs will receive a report that describes if and how the program meets the accreditation standards.


Does an accreditation agency exist for programs that serve students with intellectual disability?
Not yet, but plans for the organizational development of an accreditation agency are underway. Past NCC Accreditation Workgroups have determined that no agency currently exists who is available to accredit higher education programs for students with intellectual disability.


For more information on this pilot process, email Accreditation Workgroup chair, Dr. Martha Mock at mmock@Warner.Rochester.edu


To indicate your interest in participating in the pilot, complete this form and we will be in touch with you.