Posted on: June 25, 2019
Author: Teri Laliberte, Vice President of Accreditation and Special Projects
Policy Documentation for Accreditation image

The ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard for Continuing Education and Training (CE/T) details the benchmarks and best practices for the instructional design and delivery of continuing education and training programs offered by learning providers. The categories of the Standard are ordered logically to support the instructional design and delivery an organization provides in its learning events. IACET requires policies and processes to be submitted as part of the accreditation process to document compliance with the Standard.  

In this article, we will focus on what policy is relative to the Standard, and provide some general considerations as you write, revise, and submit your policies as part of your application for accreditation.

Policies are documents that provide an organization with the primary principles and tenets for how it conducts its business, how employees should conduct themselves, and what customers can expect.[1]

Policies that guide an accredited provider’s learning events are an essential piece of evidence in the accreditation process. Let’s examine the critical elements in a policy, and what the reviewing commissioners (reviewers) will expect to see in an application for accreditation.  

Dates of adoption/revision

A policy should be current, and the form should capture the dates for any changes to the policy.  The reviewers need to see that a policy has been in place for at least three months before the application was submitted.  An organization should also look at any particularly old policies and see if revisions are needed.

Approval/Owners

For a policy to carry weight, identify its responsible party on the document.  The commissioners reviewing your application will want to see that your organization has identified the person or role responsible for the policy and who enforces it.  A good policy will also designate the policy owner if that is different from the approver.  For policies to be implemented throughout the organization, all policies should have, and maintain high-level leadership buy-in and approval.

Description

What is the business need for this policy? The description is the narrative that describes the policy and the need for it (the WHY).  The description is NOT the actual policy, but instead introduces the policy and why it exists in the first place. The description can show the relationship between the policy and the broader organizational mission.  The policy provides your organization parameters around how to achieve its mission.  In other words, what is this policy trying to accomplish?  For example, a policy for hiring qualified personnel (3.1A) is required by the Standard.

Standards/Definitions

The core of any policy is articulated by the standards of behavior or service that the policy is describing and enforcing.  The goal of the policy is to create uniformity within the organization and is written to guide how employees or contractors are to act.  Policies also let customers, clients, and learners know what they can expect from your organization when they attend your learning events.

Consequences of Non-compliance

The implications of noncompliance are an essential piece of the policy.  It is good practice for policies to include the details for reporting any violations and the consequences of the breach (and, as mentioned earlier, who is responsible for enforcement). 

Length

A policy does not need to be a large, overly-detailed document. Instead, often shorter is better as there is less left to interpretation. However, it is essential to keep in mind that the policy is not the process required to implement.   

Policies in the Standard

In the ANSI/IACET 1-2018 Standard, categories and elements 1.6A, 1.7A, 1.8A, 3.1A, 6.2A, 8.6A require policies.  The majority of these elements also require supporting evidence documents that demonstrate how the policies are transmitted to those responsible for implementation and adherence.  The reviewers will also want to see documentation that shows that the learners are informed of the organization’s policies that affect their experience with the learning event.

 

[1] SHRM. (2019). How to Develop and Implement a New Company Policy. [online] Available at: https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/tools-and-samples/how-to-guides/pages/howtodevelopandimplementanewcompanypolicy.aspx [Accessed 20 Mar. 2019].

 


About the Author


Teri Laliberte

Teri Laliberte’s work with adult learners as a trainer, teacher and mentor spans her 25-year (and still going) career in one capacity or another.  The early part of her teaching career was spent teaching English (ESL) internationally.  After earning a Master’s in Applied Linguistics, she lived in Turkey and Poland teaching at the University level.  Once back in the US she became a teacher trainer with the Great Books Foundation for k12 teachers working with gifted children.  After a brief hiatus to stay home with her three children she returned to ESL as a Director for English as a  second language programs with the University of Cincinnati, Northern Illinois University (with ELS Language Centers) and as a District Director oversaw the programs at many more partner universities.  While partnering with Universities she worked with the language programs to become accredited by the Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training (ACCET.)  This process taught her a deep respect for the accreditation process. Moving from the academic world to the association world she developed a train the trainer program and worked to standardize the training for her former employer, The American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE,) in addition to developing a global trainer program. Having seen the benefits of accreditation for programs and learners, she believes whole heartedly in the mission of IACET and her work as the Vice President of Accreditation and Special Projects.   When not sharing her home office with her two greyhounds she can be found either running, swimming or cycling.


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