Standards Study Document

By John B. Pumphrey, Chair, Accreditation Work Group
I am pleased to present this study document on behalf of the Accreditation Work Group. The members of the work group represent multiple arms of ACPE, including members and leadership. When the group began its work, I was serving as the Regional Director of the Eastern Region. The other members of the work group currently serving are:

Shawn Mai, an ACPE Certified Educator at United Hospital/Allina Health, MN, representing the Board of Directors.

Randy Hall, an ACPE Certified Educator at UNC Health, NC, representing the Accreditation Commission. 

Kent Schaufelberger, an ACPE Certified Educator at Providence Sacred Heart, WA, who served on the former Standards Committee. 

Rosalind Bradley, an ACPE Certified Educator at Wake Forest Baptist Health, NC, representing the Certification Commission. 

Mary Catherine Cole, an ACPE Certified Educator at St. Luke’s University Hospital, PA, as a general member

Wayne Menking, an ACPE Certified Educator who was the Regional Director of the Southwest and South Central Regions and is currently one of the Directors of Community, Practice, and Member Development.                         
Mai-Anh Le Tran, Associate Professor of Religious Education and Practical Theology at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary, who was a full member of the group until she concluded her term as a Public Member of the Accreditation Commission, and now continues as consultant.

Carrie Buckner, an ACPE Certified Educator at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center, CA, was with us, but new demands and opportunities prompted her withdrawal after many months.
Kimberly Yates, ACPE Accreditation Administrator, is a supportive presence.  

Marc Medwed, ACPE Director of Programs, does more than “staff” this work group!

Questions? Email


Accreditation by ACPE is intended to be a:

  • matter of relational accountability – a member commitment to meet professional standards of practice
  • worthy endeavor that benefits the center, the certified educators, and the students
  • culture of mutuality, collaboration, and appreciation
  • transparent and consistent process 
  • continuous alignment and improvement of a center’s work, toward what is best in the education of students 
The work group spent significant time and energy researching trends in education and accreditation, studying the standards and processes of diverse educational organizations, dialoguing with the commission, and presenting to the board. Both the Accreditation Commission and the Board of Directors wholeheartedly endorsed the direction of our work.

We based our work on the idea that a center is a learning ecology, an environment that collectively and individually thinks about itself and its habits. It includes relationships and interactions, contexts and processes, and provides opportunities and resources for student learning, development, and achievement. 

In the light of our study and research, we learned that standards are unique and distinct from policies or procedures. Therefore, we endeavored to separate policy/procedure from the standards, which will provide greater clarity to centers in the accreditation process and allow for increased creativity. 

Standard: a level of quality or attainment, (synonyms: quality, level, grade, caliber, merit, excellence) or an idea or thing used as a measure, norm, or model in comparative evaluations. 

Policy: a course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business, or individual.  

Standards are adopted by the membership of the association; policies and procedures are developed and implemented by the Accreditation Commission. Together they create the foundation for our accreditation processes.

Understanding the Study Document

The Accreditation Work Group developed seven (7) standards that represent the essence of what it means to be an ACPE Accredited Center. The standards are not presented in a particular order so they are not numbered at this point.
  • At the top of each page is the standard. Each standard represents a particular element of ACPE’s vision for it accredited centers. 
  • Following the statement of the sandard is a rationale, which aims to lend further understanding to the “why” of the standard.  
  • After each rationale are indicators. Indicators are what the center highlights and reviewers (and the public) can see to determine that a center is in compliance with a standard. Indicators serve to interpret the standards.
  • Following the indicators are exemplars. Exemplars are more than just samples. Think of them as paradigmatic or exemplary models. 
  • Required exemplars are the “must haves” in demonstrating compliance.
  • Additional exemplars are means by which a center can demonstrate compliance with the standard.

What’s Not in the Study Document?

What is not in the study document are the policies and procedures that will be linked to each standard.  Policies and procedures are important to the functioning of accreditation but as they must be derived from the standards, they are not yet fully developed.

Also, what is not in this study document are responses to questions like: “Just how will the process change?” “Will we still have site-visits, annual reports, notations, etc.?” “When can we expect to know more?” The answers to these questions and more will be developed as next steps in our work.

Feedback and Next Steps

The Accreditation Work Group has actively worked to incorporate best practices from the larger field of education and accreditation. We recognize the uniqueness of our work in CPE and therefore it is important that we receive feedback from our membership. Our work group represents a wonderful cross section of ACPE and we value your contributions to the process. Please take a few minutes to review each proposed standard. Then, on each page, there will be a link to provide direct feedback on that standard. 

At the conclusion (March 30, 2018) of the open comment period, the work group will review all of the feedback submitted and then finalize the standards for presentation and approval by the Board of Directors in May. 

Once the standards are finalized, the work group will focus on the development of the policies and procedures that will complement the standards by reviewing the existing policies and procedures, revising and changing as appropriate, and developing new as needed.

Questions? Email

Click on Each Standard Below to View the Rationale, Indicators, and Exemplars