Prepare For Your Advanced Dental Site Visit

Find out what to expect before, during and after your program’s advanced dental education site visit. 

About Advanced Dental Education Site Visits

The purpose of the site visit evaluation is to obtain in-depth information concerning all administrative and educational aspects of the program. In addition, the site visit permits a team of Commission-appointed peers to assess a program's compliance with the Accreditation Standards and with its own stated goals and objectives. The site visit verifies and supplements the information contained in the comprehensive self-study document completed by the institution. Information provided in the self-study is confirmed, documentation is reviewed, interviews are conducted and the program is observed by the visiting committee. Information related to the site visit is viewed as confidential.

See upcoming advanced dental education site visits.
Review the accreditation and site visit process for advanced dental education programs.
Get the necessary documents for your advanced dental education site visit.
Use the CODA E-Portal to upload documents related to your site visit.

Before Your Advanced Dental Education Site Visit

Site Visit Timeline Overview

Site Visit Letter #1
Proposed site visit dates provided to the institution; Information provided to the institution via email or web posting.

Sent in February the year prior to site visit.

First mailing to CEO:

Site Visit Letter #2
Acknowledging Confirmation of Site Visit Dates

Sent after program has returned requested documentation from Site Visit Letter #1 in April. 

Second mailing to CAO:

Site Visit Letter #3
Final site visit letter to the institution/program notifying site visit team

Approximately 3-4 months prior to the site visit.

Required Forms and Preparation

Approximately 12 months prior to the site visit, the chief executive officer of the institution will receive notification that a site visit is due. At that time, a proposed site visit date will also be presented. It is noted that should an alternative site visit date be desired, the program will have the opportunity to request one. The chief administrative officer of the institution and the program director will receive this notification.

There are a number of forms to be completed and returned to the Commission.

These can be downloaded from the Advanced Site Visit Documents page and include:

  • Confirmation Site Visit form
  • Institutional officer's, Program and Program Director(s) data form
  • Privacy and Data Security Summary for Institutions
  • Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures (EOPP)
  • Electronic Submission of Self-Study Guides
  • Accreditation Standards
  • Self-Study Guide 
  • Site Visitor Evaluation Report (SVER)
  • Suggested Site Visit Agenda
  • Educational Activity Sites Form
  • Previous Site Visit Report (if applicable)
  • Transportation and Hotel Information Form

Once the requested information has been received in the Commission office, another mailing will be sent confirming the site visit date. This mailing typically occurs in eight (8) to nine (9) months prior to the site visit. The program director will receive the following information:

  • Confirmation of site visit date
  • Policy on State Board Participation and Role on Site Visit Team
  • State Board Participation Form
  • Policy on Site Visitors
  • Third Party Comment Posting
  • Frequency of Citings
  • Site Visitor Screening lists
  • Suggested Agenda
  • Conflict of Interest Policy (PDF)
Frequency of Citings

The frequency of citings report is included to provide program administrators and faculty with information related to the areas of non-compliance cited by visiting committees of the Commission.

Finally, approximately three (3) months prior to visit, the program receives a final mailing from the Commission which includes:

  • Names of participating site visitors
  • Instructions for Site Visitors and Documentation of Activities
  • Site Visitor's Evaluation Report (SVER)
  • 5-year data profile
  • Chairman's letter to students/residents
  • Post-site visit survey
Single Advanced Dental Education Program Site Visit

When a single advanced dental education program is to be evaluated, the visit will be one-day in length. The site visit committee will be composed of two Commission-appointed site visitors with expertise in the appropriate discipline.

One of the assigned consultants will serve as the chairperson of the visit, will contact the institution/program prior to the on-site review and will lead the opening and closing sessions of the on-site evaluation.

Multiple Advanced Dental Education Program Site Visit

When more than one advanced dental education program is to be evaluated, the site visit will be 1.5 days in length. The site visit committee will be composed of one Commission-appointed discipline-specific site visitor for each advanced dental education program. The exception to this is in oral and maxillofacial surgery, which will have two (2) discipline-specific site visitors. In addition, a Commission on Dental Accreditation staff member or designated chairperson will also attend the visit. If Commission staff is attending the site visit, they will contact the institution/program prior to the on-site review and will lead the opening and closing sessions of the on-site evaluation. If a designated chairperson is attending the site visit, they will contact the institution/program prior to the on-site review of the program and will lead the opening and closing sessions.

NOTE: If the advanced dental education program is to be evaluated in conjunction with a comprehensive dental school site visit, please refer to the Predoctoral/Comprehensive Dental Education portion of this website for further information.

During Your Advanced Dental Education Site Visit


Accreditation Standards are written broadly to give all programs considerable latitude in how they meet the standards. The Commission recognizes that there may be considerable latitude in determining procedures and methodology for site visits. Experience has shown that the conference method for conducting a site visit is widely favored and has been found most satisfactory.

Focus of the Accreditation Review

Compliance with the Accreditation Standards is based on what is occurring in the institution/program at the time of the site visit. It is not based upon any proposed changes in the program. The visiting committee will, however, expect to be apprised of any facility, faculty or curricular changes that are contemplated but not yet implemented.

Visiting Committee Schedule

While it is expected that all arrangements will be determined by the dean/program director/administrator, experience indicates that administrators welcome suggestions by the Commission for the conduct of site visits. Although more detailed suggested schedule(s) of conferences will be forwarded to the dean/program director/administrator prior to the scheduled visit, the Commission expects that an evaluation visit will include the following components. Please refer to the detailed sample schedule(s).

  • An opening conference with the appropriate institutional administrators and dean/program director/administrator at the beginning of the visit to include an overview and description of the institution and its programs. The purpose of this initial conference is to orient visiting committee members to the programs' particular strengths and weaknesses. This session is also intended to orient the administrators and program director/administrator to the methods and procedures of the visiting committee. Topics frequently covered in this session include: program goals, administration, faculty recruitment and evaluation, finances, facilities, curriculum development, assessment of outcomes, long-term planning and program development.
  • Tours of the program facilities and related learning resources facilities.
  • Lunch. Because of the time limitations, it works best if lunch for the visiting committee is carried in. (Suggested items: sandwiches, box lunches, salads, etc.)
  • Conferences with faculty with teaching or administrative responsibilities for the program.
  • Student/Resident interviews. These interviews should include the students/residents and the site visit committee only; no faculty or program director should be present.
  • If the program utilizes off-campus facility(ies) for didactic or clinical experience, the visiting committee may visit this facility. According to Commission policy, the visiting committee will identify the sites to be visited based upon educational experiences at the site (for example based upon length of training at the site, educational experience or evaluation/competencies achieved). More information: Approval of Sites Where Educational Activity Occurs (Off-Campus).
  • A final conference, with the Dean and the director/administrator of the programs will be conducted at the end of the visit. At that time, the visiting committee will formally summarize its findings and any recommendations made relating to the educational programs. The dean/program director/administrator may choose to include other individuals in the final conference.
  • Following the final conference with the dean/program director/administrator, another conference, with the institution’s chief executive officer will be conducted. The visiting committee will report briefly on the findings and recommendations related to the evaluation. Such a meeting also affords the chief executive officer an opportunity to relate plans for the entire institution that will involve the dental and dental-related programs. The Dean may be present during the conference with the institution’s administrator(s).
Briefing Faculty, Administrators and Students/Residents/Fellows on the Site Visit

It is presumed that the program’s faculty, student/resident/fellow body and administration will be apprised of the Commission’s visit. The dean/program director/administrator should inform the faculty that they will be expected to discuss course objectives, teaching methods, particular skills and abilities expected of students upon completion of the course and the measures used to evaluate student/resident/fellow performance.

Meeting Rooms

Conferences with administrators and faculty should be scheduled in adequately-sized and well-ventilated meeting rooms with conference tables which are large enough to accommodate the visiting committee and faculty member participants. It is suggested that all predoctoral conferences be scheduled in rooms within close proximity. If more than one program is to be evaluated, an additional conference room for the advanced programs and one for the allied programs (ideally within close proximity to the main room) will be required.

Resources/Materials Available On-Site

It is expected that additional sources of information will be made available to the visiting committee on-site. Please refer to the Documentation of Activities for suggested materials to have available. In addition, it is helpful if one computer running Microsoft Windows with Microsoft Word and a printer are available in the conference room for use by the visiting site visit team.

Guidelines for Visiting Committee Members

The Commission has approved the following guidelines describing visiting committee members’ responsibilities during site visits.

  • Committee members must not accept social invitations from host administrators, faculty or staff. The Commission believes firmly that the primary function of a visiting committee is program evaluation and review.
  • The self-study documents uploaded to CODA’s Portal for review by the visiting committee members at least 60 days prior to the site visit. Visiting committee members are expected to review all materials and to be familiar with academic and administrative aspects of the program as described in the self-study report prior to the site visit.
  • Visiting committee members meet in executive sessions to review, evaluate and discuss all aspects of the program.
  • Executive sessions are generally held in the evening preceding the beginning of the site visit and at scheduled intervals during the site visit.
  • Although visiting committee members discuss general findings and recommendations with the administrator during the final conference, a decision regarding the accreditation status of the education programs will be made only by the Commission at its regularly scheduled meeting following discussion and in-depth review of the committee’s report and the institution’s response.

After Your Advanced Dental Education Site Visit


The responsibilities of the site visit committee are complete following the final conference of the site visit. Should the program have questions regarding the site visit or any recommendations made, the appropriate Commission staff member should be contacted.

Post Site Visit Evaluation

Programs are requested to complete and return the Post-Site Visit Evaluation. This electronic survey gives the programs the opportunity to comment on the accreditation process, the site visit, and the site visit team. In addition, comments received via the post-site visit evaluation are the basis for any future changes.

The Preliminary Site Visit Report

The written site visit report embodies a review of the program's compliance with the Accreditation Standards at the time of the site visit and serves as the basis for accreditation decisions. It also guides officials and administrators of educational institutions in determining the degree of their compliance with the Accreditation Standards. The report clearly delineates any observed deficiencies in compliance with Standards on which the Commission will take action.

In the report, the Commission evaluates educational programs based on Accreditation Standards and provides constructive recommendations which relate to the Accreditation Standards and suggestions which relate to program enhancement.

Preliminary drafts of site visit reports are prepared by the site visitors, consolidated by staff into a single document and are approved by the visiting committee. The approved draft report is transmitted to the institutional administrator for factual review and comment prior to its review by the Commission.

The preliminary site visit report reflects the program as it exists at the time of the site visit. Any improvements or changes made subsequent to a site visit may be described and documented in the program’s response to the preliminary draft report, which becomes part of the Commission’s formal record of the program’s evaluation. Such improvements or changes represent progress made by the institution and are considered by the Commission in determining accreditation status, although the site visit report is not revised to reflect these changes.

Response to the Preliminary Site Visit Report

The institution has a maximum of 30 days in which to comment and respond to factual inaccuracies noted in the preliminary site visit report. The Commission has developed the document Guidelines for Preparation of Reports to assist the programs in preparing the site visit report response, if needed and is included when the preliminary site visit report is sent to the institution/program. Programs can report progress in implementing recommendations contained in the preliminary report after the 30 days and can submit other information for review by the Commission. While submission of multiple reports is not encouraged, the Commission will accept supplemental information no later than June 1 for consideration at the Summer Commission meeting or December 1 for consideration at the Winter meeting. The visiting committee’s approved draft report, the institution’s response, if one is necessary, and reports of progress toward recommendations are considered by the Commission when taking the accreditation action.

Commission members and visiting committee members are not authorized, under any circumstances, to disclose any information obtained during site visits or Commission meetings. The extent to which publicity is given to site visit reports is determined by the chief administrator of the educational institution. Decisions to publicize reports, in part or in full, are at the discretion of the educational institution officials, rather than the Commission. However, if the institution elects to release sections of the report to the public, the Commission reserves the right to make the entire site visit report public.

Commission Review of Site Visit Reports

The Commission and its review committees meet twice each year to consider site visit reports, progress reports, applications for accreditation and policies related to accreditation. These meetings occur in Winter (Jan/Feb) and Summer (July/Aug). Site Visits completed between November 1 and April 30 are reviewed at the Summer meeting and site visits completed between May 1 and October 31 are reviewed at the Winter meeting.

Formal Site Visit Report and Notification of Accreditation Action

An institution will receive the formal site visit report, including the accreditation status, within 30 days following the official meeting of the Commission. The Commission’s definitions of accreditation classifications are published in its Accreditation Standards documents.

Following assignment of accreditation status, the final site visit report is prepared and transmitted to the institution. The Commission expects the chief administrators of educational institutions to make copies of the Commission site visit reports available to program administrators, faculty members and others directly concerned with program quality so that they may work toward meeting the recommendations contained in the report.

Additional information regarding the procedures followed during the site visit is contained in the Commission’s publication, Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures. The Commission uses the appropriate Accreditation Standards as the basis for its evaluation of dental and dental related programs; therefore, it is essential that institutions be thoroughly familiar with this document.