The Time Has Come and We’re Here to Help!

ATLANTA, Dec. 5, 2017 – As a reminder, the 2017 Standards and Criteria became effective January 1, 2017, and all programs being reviewed beginning January 1, 2018 will do so under the 2017 Standards and Criteria. To that end, the ACEN is committed to helping you as a supportive partner with the transition to the 2017 Standards and Criteria, and the ACEN staff would like to remind faculty that there are several resources to assist programs with this transition. These resources include the professional staff, online documents and guidelines, forums and workshops, as well as intensive support options.

Professional Staff
The ACEN professional staff are seasoned educators who are committed to helping programs navigate the accreditation process.  Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions about the ACEN Standards and Criteria, policies, or procedures. We are here to help!

Online Resources – Recently Updated!
The ACEN website is a substantial online resource providing links to the ACEN Accreditation Manual, Standards and Criteria, guidelines, instructions, and templates. The ACEN would like to thank all of the individuals who have provided feedback to improve the clarity of our documents and guidelines. Faculty are encouraged to review the following updated resources which may be particularly helpful with the 2017 transition:

  • Guidelines for the Preparation of the Self-Study Report: This document is a must-use for preparing the Self-Study Report, providing not only details for formatting but also lists of essential elements which should be included in the report and/or the evidence room to support the narrative. There are also focused questions in these guidelines to help you with developing a clear and comprehensive report for your peers.
  • Sample Systematic Evaluation Plan Template: The systematic plan for program evaluation may seem overwhelming. Conversely, the 2017s have significantly reduced the information that must be included in the plan (hurray!). Though the ACEN does not mandate a particular format for the plan, this example template provides a great place to start for those new to accreditation or those transitioning their plan to the 2017s.
  • Faculty Profile Table and Instructions: Criterion 2.1 and 2.2 has significant changes in the 2017s. This table and the instructions assist faculty with providing all of the required information for peers to evaluate these Criteria as well as components of Criteria 2.3, 2.5, 2.6 and 2.10.
  • Laboratory Personnel Table and Instructions: For programs that have laboratory personnel who support the lab and/or facilitate student learning experiences, this table is necessary! Laboratory personnel are discussed in Criterion 2.7 of the Self-Study Report and these instructions will assist you with completing the table if it is applicable to your program.
  • Guidelines for the Preparation of the Follow-Up Report: Does your program have a Follow-Up Report due after January 1, 2018? If so, the faculty must write the report to the 2017s even though they may have been previously reviewed under the 2013s. These guidelines will assist you with all aspects of the report.
  • Site Visit Report Templates used by Peer Evaluators: Review the report template used by your peers during the site visit. This template can provide valuable information about the types of questions and clarifications they may ask about during the visit. Feel free to copy tables into your own reports for ease of use by your peers!
  • ACEN Glossary: End-of-program student learning outcomes; program outcomes, laboratory personnel; program coordinators; sufficient full-time faculty; communities of interest; partnerships; program completion. What do these terms really mean? Check out the glossary to ensure you understand to what your peers are referring!
  • Side-by-Side Comparison: This document provides a comparison of the 2017 and current 2013 Standards and Criteria reflecting a description of the changes. Check this out for rationales as well as details for helping your programs’ transition!
  • Open Access Training Modules: These freely accessible modules are available for everyone! While all Peer Evaluators complete this online training, even you may access the materials which provide a great overview of the 2017 Standards and Criteria!


Workshops, Forums, Annual Conference
Want to hear it live? The ACEN staff provide a full review of the 2017 Standards and Criteria during Self-Study Forums each spring and fall. These forums provide attendees an opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the ACEN Standards and Criteria, the self-study process, as well as guidance for writing the Self-Study Report. Bring your questions and get practical ideas for writing to the Standards and Criteria in the Self-Study Report.

We also offer workshops for program administrators, which is particularly helpful for new administrators or those new to accreditation. These workshops assist the novice or advanced-beginner nurse administrator and other program administrators who are leading an accredited program. Information related to accreditation policies, processes, and maintaining compliance with the ACEN Standards and Criteria is provided. The Program Administrators Workshop is a great way to network and share experiences with others.

Finally, the inaugural ACEN Nursing Education Accreditation Conference in July 2018 will be a great venue to learn from your peers and discover the innovative ways other programs are meeting and exceeding the ACEN Standards! The conference theme for 2018 is “Quality Education through Accreditation” and will provide a scholarly forum in which faculty, nurse administrators, and students of ACEN-accredited programs share best practices related to nursing education accreditation. The conference is your opportunity to engage in scholarship, learn new educational practices, meet and network with your peers, interact with the ACEN Board of Commissioners, meet our dynamic Chief Executive Officer, and enjoy the numerous amenities of Atlanta, Georgia. We hope to see you there!


Intensive Resources
For programs seeking more intensive support, the ACEN offers the following options:

  • Peer Evaluator Training and Orientation: Even if you are not sure about becoming a peer evaluator, reviewing the online training may provide additional insight into the Standards and Criteria as well as demystify the process. Access is open to everyone, though CEs are only provided when you complete the training and become a peer evaluator!
  • Observer on a Site Visit Team: Have you ever wanted to know what the peer evaluators look for as they come to visit your program? This option provides programs with an opportunity to send a faculty member on a site visit to another program to observe the peer evaluators on the site visit team and obtain insight on the peer evaluation experience and process.
  • Advisory Review: Would your program like more extensive help from the professional staff? This option provides your program an opportunity for more comprehensive feedback from a professional staff member, typically 1-2 years before a scheduled continuing accreditation site visit.
  • Candidacy Mentoring: The ACEN is your supportive partner for guidelines and mentorship when seeking initial accreditation with the organization.  Professional staff are available to answer questions regarding the Candidacy process and a professional staff mentor is assigned to each program upon confirmation of eligibility. This mentor will help to guide the program through the Candidacy process. The Candidacy documents were also updated over the summer and are available to you at:

As always, ACEN professional staff are available to answer your questions. Please feel comfortable contacting us by telephone at (404) 975-5000.