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Project Management Training, Tools Critical for Managing Accreditation Work

Accreditation work involves considerable project management to track logistics and the activities of stakeholders. Resource management is a usual business practice of academic units, but the tools are not typically suitable for tracking projects with due dates and multiple actors. Tune in to AACTE’s upcoming Online Professional Seminars (OPSs) to learn about specialized software and methods for managing assessment cycles, quality assurance systems, and accreditation submissions.

In a session starting January 25, OPS #6: Leveraging Accreditation for Quality Improvement will cover topics such as ethical considerations, tools, checklists, site visits, mock visits, and walk-throughs. Or join us starting February 8 for OPS #5: Preparing for Accreditation, where we’ll cover teamwork, readiness, calendar planning, document control, best practices, and more.

Planning for a learning curve, an accreditation task force can schedule their work to include training in processes and technologies. Ideally, a coordinator takes on the role of project manager so that the team has an internal trainer and guide to their assigned tasks. Most academic units do not hire a certified project manager for the job, but would be wise to consider supporting the professional development of their coordinator or leader to include project management training.


Screenshot from Smartsheet, a project management tool
From OPS #6: Leveraging Accreditation for Quality Improvement

Planning should also include a budget for project management tools. Web-based software like Trello and Smartsheet present one style of multi-user workspaces that can collect documents, host discussions, and set up calendars and progress-checkers. More traditional (and not necessarily cloud-based) tools include Excel and Microsoft Project. And for a totally free approach? Well, it’s amazing what can be coordinated through a set of Google calendars. Even web conferencing can be supported on the low end (Skype, Zoom, freeconferencing.com).

The OPS short courses feature content and asynchronous discussions that can be accessed at any time during their 4-week spans. The seminars have no prerequisites, can be taken out of sequence, and are open to everyone. The registration fee for AACTE members is $50 per course; nonmembers pay $125. EXCEPTIONS: OPS #1 and #2 are always free to everyone.

Registration closes 5 days ahead of each session start date, so be sure to secure your place for OPS #6 by January 20 and for OPS #5 by February 5. Register and learn more about AACTE’s Quality Support Initiative here.

Lillian Chenoweth, Ph.D., is a principal at HCB Digital, which collaborates with AACTE to offer Online Professional Seminars.

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Lillian Chenoweth

HigherEdLearning Consulting Group