What is CAFCE accreditation?
Members of the Canadian Association for Co-operative Education (CAFCE) first established criteria and a process for the accreditation of co-operative education programs (co-op) in 1979. Accreditation standards were developed to establish co-op as an educational strategy and to provide leadership in ensuring quality co-op programming.
Accreditation Council members from across Canada articulate and review accreditation measures as the needs of students, employers and institutions change. In order to qualify for accreditation, Co-op programs must provide documentation demonstrating the following:
Maintaining accreditation criteria helps build quality into existing co-op programs and provides a benchmark for setting up new co-op programs.
Institutions seeking accreditation are eligible to apply once their first co-op class has graduated. A review team, consisting of three (3) members from separate institutions that offer co-operative education, evaluates the application and submits its recommendation to the Accreditation Council for their final approval. Programs maintain their accreditation status for a period of six (6) years.
Accredited programs are recognized in CAFCE's directory and on its website. Successful applicants also receive a certificate for each accredited program, approval to use CAFCE's Accreditation logo, and an invitation to join the Accreditation Council.
What are the benefits of having my institution's co-operative education programs accredited by CAFCE?
Institutions should consider accreditation for a number of reasons:
What do I need to submit for accreditation?
Submit all the documented evidence indicating that your program meets each criterion as outlined in the Accreditation Application. There is a fee of CDN$100 for each application.
Each accreditation application should be submitted in a separate binder. All programs that are similarly structured and administered may be included in one binder. Any differences in the program areas should be noted (e.g., program X requires work term reports and oral presentations for every work term; program Y requires work term reports for each work term and only one oral presentation overall). The binder should include a submittal cover page for each program being assessed (Part A), and the remaining sections of the binder include the narrative (explanatory notes) and appendices such as print materials, calendar, sample job postings, etc.
How can I get a better understanding of what is involved in the application review process?
Contact a member of the Accreditation Council for guidance and mentoring.
Volunteer to be a reader on a review team to learn how applications are evaluated. You can assume that being a reader will take anywhere from four (4) to eight (8) hours of your time in total, depending upon the complexity of the application. You could be expected to review a new application or a program that has been previously accredited.
The best way to prepare for being a reader is to view the accreditation materials available for download on the CAFCE website. If you become familiar with the standards as noted in the documents and the preambles to each section, you will quickly learn what to look for in an application. Typically, the Chair of the review team will set up a schedule in consultation with the two (2) other team members to move the review process along. You are normally given at least a month to read through the submitted application and as you are reviewing it, you make notations (such as, noting an excellent student preparation program). You will also flag any questions you have (such as, "How are employers informed of their roles?").
After team members have had time to review the materials, the team Chair arranges a teleconference where the members consider the various criteria and discuss their findings and recommendations. If required, the Chair contacts the applicant to clarify any questions the team might have. The Chair then updates the team via e-mail. After the team has come to an agreement, the Chair writes a letter to the Accreditation Council Chair outlining their recommendations and any notations that the team thinks appropriate to include. It is important that all required criteria are met in order for the application to be accredited; recommended criteria (in Part G) are identified as program enhancements only. The team's letter is reviewed at the next scheduled Accreditation Council meeting and the Council votes on the recommendation. The applicant is then notified of the decision.