FROM THE DIRECTOR – April 2021

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ACOTE® met virtually in April.  Highlights from the meeting include:

2018 STANDARDS INTERPRETATIONS AND CLARIFICATIONS

A.2.12. Adequate Space

Standard A.2.12 requires that adequate space must be provided for the private advising of students. Virtual platforms are acceptable if occurring in a private space and student privacy is maintained throughout the session. Programs need to continue to follow the appropriate Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) guidelines.

C.1.0. Fieldwork Education and D.1.0. Doctoral Capstone FAQ

Please refer to the ACOTE website under “For Programs” for commonly asked questions and answers regarding fieldwork education and doctoral capstone (https://acoteonline.org/frequently-asked-questions-3/).

Recognition of Foreign Qualifications

For degrees from institutions in countries other than the United States, ACOTE will recognize the two competent authorities for recognition matters:

  1. The National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy (NBCOT), for individuals seeking to practice in a jurisdiction of the United States and who are presenting degrees or other qualifications earned abroad; and
  2. The hiring employer, for individuals seeking work and who are presenting degrees or other qualifications earned abroad.

POLICY CHANGES AND CLARIFICATION

ACOTE® Policy IV.B.1. Additions or Changes

The US Department of Education (USDE) is extending its allowance for institutions to use distance education modalities to accommodate students without going through the regular approval process for the duration of the COVID-19 national emergency declaration and 180 days following the date on which the emergency declaration is rescinded. Using USDE as a guide, ACOTE is continuing the same flexibility for use of distance education modalities 180 days post-pandemic. A program that makes permanent delivery method changes during the pandemic or chooses to continue to use distance education post pandemic, must seek ACOTE approval through the eAccreditation Portal using the Substantive Change tab (see ACOTE Policy IV.B.1. Additions or Changes). All programs are expected to remain in compliance with the 2018 ACOTE Standards.

ACOTE Policy IV.B.1. Additions or Changes

All minor and significant program changes must be submitted through the ACOTE eAccreditation portal (www.acote.aota.org) using the “Substantive Change” tab (see ACOTE Policy IV.B.1. Additions or Changes for more information and due dates). The reviewers assigned to the program will review the information and ACOTE will notify the program if additional information is required.

  • Minor program changes or additions – can occur without ACOTE approval. There is no separate accreditation action necessary for such changes.
  • Significant program changes or additions – Require ACOTE approval prior to the admission of students into the new/change program.

ANNOUNCEMENTS

On-Site Visits

On-site visits will be conducted virtually through July 2021. On-site visits scheduled in August are scheduled as an in-person visit (subject to change). Programs will be notified approximately 3 months before their on-site visit if it will be conducted virtually. Thank you for your continued patience and flexibility.

Recruitment for the Roster of Accreditation Evaluators (RAE)

ACOTE® is seeking new members for the RAE. RAE members evaluate the compliance of occupational therapy and occupational therapy assistant educational programs with ACOTE Accreditation Standards through on-site evaluations and online reviews. Their work provides ACOTE with the necessary information to make accreditation decisions, and helps to ensure the competency of future occupational therapy practitioners. ACOTE is placing a strategic emphasis on expanding the diversity of the practice and education settings, and the education levels represented on the RAE. Occupational therapy clinicians and occupational therapy assistant (clinicians and educators) are especially needed and are strongly encouraged to apply. If you know someone who is well suited for this volunteer position, please refer them to the RAE Application for Membership, located on the ACOTE website, for more information and the application process. Completed applications with CVs or resumes are due: August 20, 2021.

Self-Study Workshop

The Self-Study Workshop is designed to meet the needs of administrators, program directors and faculty preparing for an upcoming self-study review or who are wanting to understand more about the accreditation process. The workshop includes didactic instruction and interactive sessions with a mock review of sample materials and interviews. Attendance is limited. Dates and registration information can be found at:  https://acoteonline.org/events-workshops/

Administrators New Program Preparation Workshop

The Administrators Workshop is designed to meet the needs of higher education administrators, who are considering or who have committed to developing an OT or OTA program. The workshop includes didactic instruction and interactive sessions with a review of sample materials. Attendance is limited. For dates and registration, please click here.

RESOURCES

GENTLE REMINDERS

  • All faculty must be licensed once their new position commences. Standard A.2.6 requires, “Core faculty who are occupational therapy practitioners and teaching occupational therapy content must be currently licensed or otherwise regulated in the state or jurisdiction as an occupational therapist or occupational therapy assistant”.
  • Update the program director and faculty licenses in the “FACULTY” tab in the eAccreditation portal.
  • It is the responsibility of the program director to remain current with the most recent Standards Interpretive Guide and ACOTE® policies located on www.acoteonline.org. Updates to these documents are reported on the ACOTE® website after each ACOTE® meeting.

Please submit all questions to accred@aota.org to ensure your questions are answered promptly.