The Accreditation Commission is comprised of a chair, chair-elect, 10 ACPE Certified Educators, 2 members of the public, and 1 practitioner. While the commission makes all final decisions about provisional accreditation, accreditation, notations, commendations, and adverse actions, there are additional persons who support their work in meaningful ways.

Qualified ACPE Certified Educators serve as site team chairs, site team members, and portfolio reviewers. Persons who wish to serve in these roles must undergo an initial training and agree to participate in ongoing training and professional development.

Persons involved with ACPE accreditation work (Commission members and others who participate in accreditation site review) must have sufficient knowledge and expertise to permit competent assessment of programs of clinical pastoral education. They will include educators, practitioners and public members as required. They must have one or more of the following qualifications:

  • post-baccalaureate theological degree;
  • successful completion of two or more units of clinical pastoral education
  • professional practice of providing spiritual care for five years or longer;
  • post-baccalaureate degree in a field related to education or sociology or appointment to the faculty of a seminary or university;
  • recognized certification by the Association of Professional Chaplains or a related cognate group; or
  • medical or allied health professional practice.

Additional criteria for the practitioner member of the Commission include:

  • successful completion of four or more units of ACPE clinical pastoral education;
  • professional practice for five years or longer;
  • currently engaged in a spiritual care related position

Additional criteria exist for Public Members, who may not be:

  • employed by or associated with agencies or institutions affiliated with ACPE, Inc.;
  • in service as an officer or staff member of a cognate ministry or chaplaincy group;
  • an ACPE officer or employee, or
  • the spouse, domestic partner, parent, child, or sibling of anyone in active practice in an accredited ACPE member center or any of the above.

All persons participating in the accreditation process are required to:

• Be familiar with the ACPE Accreditation Manual in general and know the requirements for the specific type of reviews.
• Have working knowledge of ACPE standards and all accreditation review processes and criteria.
• Sign and abide by the non-disclosure agreement when participating in accreditation processes and reviewing or using student records during accreditation review.
• Present themselves in a professional manner, conducting their work with a spirit of collegiality and service.
• Complete an orientation to Standards of the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education and the ACPE Accreditation Manual, with special focus understanding the following guidelines for fulfilling roles and responsibilities. The Chair of the Commission is responsible for orienting Commissioners. This orientation will take place through several avenues, which may include e-mail correspondence, conference calls, or in-person orientation at Commission meetings.
• In addition, public members sign and abide by the declaration of qualification as a public member.

Bias and Conflict of Interest

“Bias” refers to a pre-existing impression or opinion, either positive or negative, about a center, the institution in which it is located, or its staff, which might affect one’s ability to assess accreditation matters objectively. “Conflict of interest” is any circumstance in which a person, close associate or institution might be adversely affected by or benefit from an accreditation decision. CPE center representatives, regional accreditation committee members, Commission members, or the regional committee chair or Commission chair may request a person to withdraw from discussion and vote about a center if the person is judged to hold a bias about the center under review or its staff because:

  • the center previously employed or had an association with the person, or
  • the person has demonstrated lack of objectivity about the evaluation of the program or center under review.

All persons involved in policy making or accreditation decisions (Board of Representatives, Accreditation Commissioners, consultants, and administrative staff) will receive initial training and annually sign the Conflict of Interest statement.