CAPACS Statement on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology (CAPACS or the Commission) is committed to serve and fulfill its accreditation mission for its accredited and prospective programs in sociological practice (applied sociology, clinical sociology, engaged public sociology, translational sociology, and forensic sociology) throughout the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
In the interest of the public health, safety, and welfare – and in adherence to federal, state, municipal, and local government advisories to self-isolate, stay-at-home, and practice social distancing – CAPACS will conduct its domestic accreditation reviews and site visits virtually, following the guidelines of the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the United States Department of Education (USDE) until the COVID-19 pandemic is abated. International reviews will follow the guidelines of the programs’ respective governments as necessary.
In general, these sources permit accreditors the flexibility to grant an extension of a program’s accreditation cycle when warranted and use online technologies, including telecommunications and videoconferencing, to conduct virtual accreditation reviews and site visits. Specifically, these sources recommend that a physical site visit follow a virtual and interactive site visit as soon as practicable after the pandemic. This is to verify that the information obtained during the virtual site visit complies with the Standards of the accrediting commission or entity.
Accordingly, CAPACS assures that all program documents shall remain secured in shared folders in Dropbox and pledges to use established technologies such as Vast Teleconference and Zoom Videoconference to schedule virtual accreditation review committee (ARC) and site visit team (SVT) meetings with its accredited and prospective programs. These technologies will allow the Commission to fulfill its accreditation obligations with all parties in the review process. In particular, the Commission’s license with Zoom will allow all parties to display and review documents online during virtual site visits with program faculty, students, university administrators, internship coordinators, and internship site supervisors and sponsors. Programs should prepare for a virtual accreditation review and site visit in the same manner as they prepare for a traditional accreditation review and physical site visit when organizing their self-study reports and supporting documents. They should follow the Commission’s Standards and Self-study Guidelines at the appropriate degree level, Review Process Guidelines, and Accreditation Policies and Procedures published on the Documents web page on the CAPACS website. They also should follow the instructions of the ARC Chair and Lead Site Visitor. Questions on the virtual review process should be directed to the ARC Chair or the Commission Chair using the Contact CAPACS webpage.
For additional information on COVID-19 guidance for virtual accreditation reviews, please consult:
- Federal Guidance to Accreditors Will Impact Institutions | Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)
- Information for Accrediting Agencies Regarding Temporary Flexibilities Provided to Coronavirus Impacted Institutions or Accrediting Agencies | United States Department of Education (USDE).
In these unprecedented and challenging times, the Commission on the Accreditation of Programs in Applied and Clinical Sociology wishes everyone good health. CAPACS extends its appreciation to all of its accredited and prospective programs in their support of the virtual accreditation review process during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.