As you learn more about your role as a Site Visitor, perhaps the most important thing to remember is that the success of the visit depends on YOU. You are the eyes and ears of the Commission on Dental Accreditation. Your analysis and written site visit report are critical to the success of the entire accreditation process. The Commission relies on the information in the self-study and your report to formulate its decision about the accreditation of programs. This report also becomes a reference document for the next regularly scheduled site visit five to seven years in the future.
The successful site visitor:
- evaluates objectively
- gathers facts
- evaluates data
- acts confident and professional
- understands the faculty's point of view
- is accurate but tactful in conveying program strengths and weaknesses
- observes confidentiality
- reports actual or perceived conflict of interest to the commission before the site visit
- Site Visitors serve as fact-finders for the Commission and are expected to be thorough, objective and cooperative with the visiting institution in their conduct of program reviews. An overly critical, negative or judgmental attitude on the part of a Site Visitor is inappropriate and undermines the value of the accreditation process.
- Site Visitors should assess programs according to the established accreditation standards and not according to their personal preferences or biases. While it is often helpful for site visitors to offer suggestions based on personal experience, institutions must clearly understand that programs are evaluated objectively according to pre-established standards.
- Site Visitors must regard all information obtained before and during the visit as confidential. Materials provided to a Site Visitor for the evaluation (e.g., applications and supporting documentation) should be destroyed after the Commission has considered the site visit report.
- Site Visitors should NOT accept social invitations from host administrators during the accreditation site visit. The function of the visit is program evaluation and review.
- Site visitors should remember that accreditation standards are deliberately broad to enable each program to interpret them within its own particular environment. The Site Visitor can assist the institution by exploring and suggesting alternative methods of meeting standards. However, neither the Commission nor its Site Visitors can dictate the specifics of how an institution responds to recommendations, since there are many ways in which most requirements may be met. Site Visitors should never discuss details about the operation of their own accredited programs.