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Third Party Comments

The Commission currently publishes, in its accredited lists of programs, the year of the next site visit for each program it accredits. In addition, the Commission publishes in its spring and fall newsletter, Communications Update, those programs being site visited January through June or July through December. Developing programs submitting applications for initial accreditation may be scheduled for site visits after the publication of Communications Update; thus, the specific dates of these site visits will not be available for publication. These programs will be listed in Communications Update with a special notation that the developing programs have submitted applications for initial accreditation and may or may not be scheduled for site visits. Parties interested in these specific dates (should they be established) are welcomed/encouraged to contact the Commission office.

The United States Department of Education (USDE) procedures now also require accrediting agencies to provide an opportunity for third-party comment, either in writing or at a public hearing (at the accrediting agencies' discretion) with respect to institutions or programs scheduled for review. All comments must relate to accreditation standards for the discipline and required accreditation policies. In order to comply with the department's requirement on the use of third-party comment regarding program's qualifications for accreditation or pre-accreditation, the following procedures have been developed.

WHO CAN SUBMIT COMMENTS:

Third-party comments relative to the Commission's accredited programs may include comments submitted by interested parties such as faculty, students, program administrators, Commission consultants, specialty and dental-related organizations, patients, and/or consumers.

HOW COMMENTS CAN BE SOLICITED:

The Commission will request written comments from interested parties in the spring and fall issues of Communications Update. In fairness to the accredited programs, all comments relative to programs being visited will be due in the Commission office no later than 60 days prior to each program's site visit to allow time for the program to respond. Therefore, programs being site-visited in January through June will be listed in the fall issue of CU of the previous year and programs scheduled for a site visit from July through December will be listed in the spring issue of the current year. Any unresolved issues related to the program's compliance with the accreditation standards will be reviewed by the site visit team while on-site.

Those programs scheduled for review are responsible for soliciting third-party comments from students and patients by publishing an announcement at least 90 days prior to their site visit. The notice should indicate the deadline of 60 days for receipt of third-party comments in the Commission office and should stipulate that comments must pertain only to the standards for the particular program or policies and procedures used in the Commission's accreditation process. The announcement may include language to indicate that a copy of the appropriate accreditation standards and/or the Commission's policy on third-party comments may be obtained by contacting the Commission at 211 East Chicago Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611, or by calling 1/800-621-8099, extension 4653.

TYPES OF COMMENTS CONSIDERED:

All comments submitted must pertain only to the standards relative to the particular program being reviewed or policies and procedures used in the accreditation process. Comments will be screened by Commission staff for relevancy. For comments not relevant to these issues, the individual will be notified that the comment is not related to accreditation and, where appropriate, referred to the appropriate agency. For those individuals who are interested in submitting comments, requests can be made to the Commission office for receiving standards and/or the Commission's Evaluation Policies and Procedures (EPP).

MANAGEMENT OF COMMENTS:

All relevant comments will be referred to the program at least 50 days prior to the site visit for review and response. A written response from the program should be provided to the Commission office and the site visit team 15 days prior to the site visit. Adjustments may be necessary in the site visit schedule to allow discussion of comments with proper personnel.

Adopted: (07/95) Revised: (01/97) Updated: (08/02) Reaffirmed: (01/03)