Professional accreditations provide nationally accepted standards to improve learning skills and competencies, share knowledge and raise the profile of the educational programs. Accreditation processes focus on re-examining the methods in teaching and learning by adapting best practices in the field to achieve effective program outcomes and accountability. Such effort also enhances the value, credibility, and reputation of the University.
Professional accreditation is a means of testing and evaluating educational programs and recognizing those that meet the required standards in preparing graduates for professional practice. The faculty must also design a curriculum that provides a general professional education that prepares students for entry into graduate education and/or professional practice. Accreditation offers an assurance that those entering careers or further education are appropriately prepared. Over the past decade, Clark Atlanta University has complied with the mandatory provision of applied professional education, by giving priority to obtaining accreditation of its programs wherever applicable. As a result, accrediting bodies provide input to the development of curriculum in a number of CAU programs.
Academic Programs included in this initiative are divided into three categories:
- Candidacy Stage - Academic programs are conducting self-studies and are actively enhancing areas of challenge to submit an application for professional program accreditation applicable for their respective areas of study.
- Reaffirmation/Maintenance Stage - Professional program accreditation has been obtained and programs are preparing for a reaffirmation site visit and/or taking corrective issues identified in annual reports. Additionally, this category identifies programs that are engaging in ongoing activities to sustain program accreditation.
- Post Reaffirmation Stage - Programs have gone through a site visit in the previous year and have received a recommendation(s) and/or sanction(s) from the professional program accreditation agency. Personnel will be taking swift and immediate corrective action and seeking consultative assistance to insure sanction is removed.
Currently, academic programs in the Schools of Business Administration, Education, and Social Work are accredited by their respective Professional Accreditation Boards. The fourth School of Arts and Sciences at CAU currently has 16 degree granting departments of which only the Department of Public Administration has been accredited by the National Association of Schools of Public Affairs/Administration (NASPAA).
The following is a list of the professional accreditation program review dates:
*School of Business Fall, 2010
*Public Administration Summer, 2010
*School of Education Fall, 2011
Department of Computer Information Sciences Fall, 2012 (estimated for initial accreditation)
*School of Social Work Spring, 2014
The existing professional program accreditations are evidence of the quality of the educational program offerings to both internal and external constituents. Additional academic departments are also encouraged to actively pursue professional program accreditation as a means of sharing knowledge and raising the profiles of the educational programs.