Just the thought of compliance and accreditation can cause stress and anxiety for many of us. It’s okay. Take a deep breath and let’s look at how we can change our view on compliance.
Accreditation and compliance should not be viewed as exercises in putting on mass productions of work in a short time period. Meeting accreditation and compliance standards is an ongoing process that occurs through the day-to-day operation of the school.
Here are 3 steps schools can implement today to demonstrate their commitment to compliance.
1 Update job descriptions.
Very few job descriptions correlate the duties and responsibilities at all levels to mission, accreditation, and compliance. Imagine if they did and if the information was covered in employee orientations and in-service trainings. Here are some examples:
|Excerpts from Job Descriptions||Correlation to Accreditation/Compliance Standards|
|Responsible for collecting, recording, maintaining and reporting of student records within FERPA guidelines||Federal compliance|
|Clean building floors by sweeping, mopping, scrubbing, or vacuuming them; Monitor building security and safety by performing such tasks as locking doors after operating hours and checking electrical appliance use to ensure that hazards are not created.||Maintains physical infrastructure sufficient to support operations|
|Coordinates the institution’s Clery Act Compliance program; develops the institution’s Clery Compliance policies and procedures||Federal compliance|
2 Document outcomes and successes.
Often, through verbal interviews, faculty and staff boisterously describe the work they do in/out of the classroom and how it prepares students for the future. Start capturing this information in a written systematic manner and turn the perceived distress and torment of compliance into delight and joy of demonstrating jobs done well.
There are far more success stories than failures. Keeping in mind the premise for compliance is measuring student achievement and holding schools accountable, every audit and/or site visit yields opportunities for promoting excellence and success holding steadfast to the intuitional commitment to students.
3 Involve students in the process.
Students need to be aware of important facts that they control and influence.
- Launch a social media campaign informing students about how the college’s loan default rate directly correlates with the students’ repayment of student loans. If the loan default rate, due to students not repaying, reaches a certain percentage, then the college is at risk of losing program privileges which means future students may not have a student loan program.
- Increase opportunities for students to provide feedback to the college regarding their student experience through surveys and in academic program reviews.
Compliance done right…
…provides opportunities for everyone on campus to showcase their successes. By raising the awareness of how the work is related to accreditation and compliance and documenting the outcomes, compliance becomes less stressful and more a part of your daily routine.