Site Visitor Resources
Site Visit Manual and Official Documents
Site Visitors should refer to the Site Visit Manual to understand all nuances of the site visit: how to prepare for the visit, the role of the site visit and team in the accreditation process, questions site visitors should ask the program, a sample schedule, documents site visitors should review, what should be in the Site Visit Report, expense procedures, etc.
Apart from the Manual, site visitors should review all current policies and documents, including COPRA Policy Statements, to familiarize themselves with the expectations for the current cohort.
Download the Site Visit Manual.
To ensure the safety of our volunteer visitors and program constituents, COPRA has determined that all site visits for the 2020-2021 accreditation review cohort will be virtual. Guidance on virtual site visits for host programs and site visitors is available in the 2021 NASPAA Guidance for Virtual Site Visits.
Preparing for the Site Visit
Once visit dates are confirmed, the program is responsible for helping the team handle the logistics of the visit. The program will make hotel reservations for each of the team members, and provide guidance on travel to the university. Typically, site visitors are responsible for making individual travel arrangements, in consultation with the entire team to ensure appropriate coordination. The scheduling of the visit itself is led by the Site Visit Chair.
As the Site Visit Manual outlines, site visitors are responsible for remaining current not only in training, but with COPRA policies, and all documents related the program. Before each visit, every site visitor should have read and become familiar with the program’s:
- Self-Study Report and appendices,
- Interim Report,
- Interim Report Response, and
- Any supporting Documents.
On the ground, the Site Visit Team is expected to review all items cited in the program’s Interim Report, program materials related to program evaluation and student learning assessment, as well as meet with program stakeholders. Note, the Site Visit Team has no evaluative role in the accreditation process, instead it confirms and clarifies information, providing evidence to the Commission to consider as one part of its accreditation action.
Site Visit Report
Each team is responsible for preparing a site visit report within 30 days of the visit. The report, which constitutes one piece of the program’s accreditation portfolio, is a collection of the evidence found on the ground, especially with regard to items cited by COPRA in the Interim Report. The team should take great care to make no judgments of the program, but to provide the evidence COPRA needs to make a full evaluation of the program, linking every detail to a Standard. The program has the opportunity to review and suggest factual edits to the report (within 14 days of the draft report), but the final product is the discretion of the team alone. The report is drafted, reviewed, and finalized in the NASPAA Data Center, a process which is led by the site visit chair.
Site Visitor Expenses
You, as a member of the Site Visit Team, have a number of responsibilities in connection with travel. These responsibilities are no less important than your responsibilities for carrying out your Site Visit Team assignment. In all cases, you are expected to exercise the same care in incurring expenses during the site visit that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business.
Your authorization to travel as a member of a Site Visit Team to evaluate a degree program will be a letter from the Chairperson of COPRA. The program to be visited will be identified along with the dates for the visit as well as the other members of the team. A Team Chairperson will be appointed by the Commission on Peer Review and Accreditation.
The responsibility for purchasing the air travel ticket rests with each individual member of the Site Visit Team.
Class of Travel:
Air Accommodations. All team members will use coach air travel accommodations. If first class air accommodation is used, the individual Site Visit Team member will be personally responsible for the difference between coach fare and first class fare. In the case of international travel, please discuss with NASPAA staff the possibility of upgraded accommodations. If you choose to check a bag you will be reimbursed for one bag fee both ways.
Rail Accommodations. You are authorized a first class seat for day-time travel.
TRANSPORTATION TO AND FROM THE CARRIER TERMINAL
Reimbursement will be allowed for taxicabs and for limousine fares (plus tip of 15%) to, from, and between common carrier terminals. Please provide receipts.
TRAVEL BY PRIVATELY OWNED AUTOMOBILE
If you drive a privately owned automobile, reimbursement will be allowed at the rate of 56 cents per mile (IRS 2014). Site Visitors seeking reimbursement for such mileage should include a Google Map, MapQuest or other such print out verifying the mileage. If you base your mileage on your odometer reading, you must show the reading at point of origin and destination. You will be reimbursed for highway, bridge, and tunnel tolls, ferry fares and parking fees if they are itemized and receipts are submitted with your travel voucher. If you have to stay overnight at a hotel as a result of driving, you will not be reimbursed for the cost of the hotel accommodation.
Travel by privately owned automobile is not to exceed cost by common carrier.
In the interest of keeping the Site Visit Team costs reasonable, NASPAA has adopted the following guidelines for lodging and meals:
1. The program head arranges hotel accommodations for each Site Visit Team member and so notifies them. (Since many universities have arrangements with local hotels, the program head may be able to take advantage of available discounts and will know the hotel costs in advance.) Programs may direct bill this cost, bypassing the site visit team entirely.
2. Receipts will be required for reimbursement of meal expenses. Copies of all receipts will be sent to the program institution for billing purposes. You are expected to exercise the same care in incurring meal expenses during the site visit that a prudent person would exercise if traveling on personal business.
3. Incidental expenses up to $10 in total, including lights meals or snacks, do not require receipts–but you still need to report and itemize them on the expense form.
4. In following NASPAA practices, NASPAA will not process reimbursement requests for alcoholic beverages (except table wine with dinner)
5. A few public state universities must follow per diem rules with respect to expenses for campus visitors. Your program host should inform you if this is the case for your visit, but if you are in doubt, please ask your host. In that case, you will not be able to claim for more than their maximum for hotel and meals. Please contact NASPAA if any problems arise in this regard.
NASPAA will not reimburse Site Visit Team members for the personal expenses such as childcare or pet boarding.
Expense reports along with receipts for reimbursement should ONLY be sent to the NASPAA Office. NASPAA will process the reimbursement request and reimburse you directly. Under no circumstances should a site visitor submit their reimbursement requests to the host program. NASPAA reimburses site visitors rather than the host program to prevent any appearances of impropriety and so there is no direct “payment” from the host program to the members responsible for reviewing their program.
When all expense vouchers are received from the team, your reimbursement checks will be mailed, and the school will be billed for the total cost of the site visit — your team members are depending on you submitting your receipts in a timely manner! Any reimbursement requests received more than 60 days after the visit will not be honored.