The ACPE appeal process for adverse decisions of the Accreditation Commission is designed to provide an opportunity for the institution or program to appeal any adverse action prior to the action becoming final, as defined by the U.S. Department of Education (34 CFR Sec. 602.25 (f).
- Within 30 calendar days, appellant must notify ACPE Executive Director in writing at
By Mail: ACPE, 55 Ivan Allen Jr. Boulevard, Suite 835, Atlanta, GA 30308
By Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
stating the grounds upon which appeal is based. An appeal must be based on the grounds that the adverse decision was:
- arbitrary, capricious, or otherwise in violation of Accreditation Standards or the ACPE Accreditation Manual;
- not supported by substantial evidence in the record on which the adverse decision was based that could have substantially altered the outcome.
The appellant bears the burden of proof to establish the appeal to the satisfaction of the appeal panel.
- Within 21 days of receipt of notice from appellant, ACPE Executive Director or designee acknowledges receipt of appeal and:
- notifies the Commission chair.
- provides the appellant with the appeal pool roster.
The Appeal Pool consists of educator members and practitioners. An Appeal Panel is selected from this pool, along with a member of the public appointed by the ACPE Executive Director, and others at the discretion of the Executive Director. Three member appeal panels will include at least one educator, one member of the public, and one practitioner. The ACPE Executive Director maintains a pool of public members available to serve.
Criteria for Members of the Appeal Pool
- May not include current members of the Accreditation Commission
- ACPE Certified Educators, cognate group members, and representatives of other disciplines.
- expertise in accreditation.
- knowledge of ACPE standards.
- free of any conflict of interest
- training in judicatory or complaint and appeal processes within ACPE, a cognate group, or other professional forum.
- Within 15 days of sending by email the appeal pool roster, appellant may identify, without cause, up to three members of the pool who may not be impaneled.
- Within 30 days following appellant’s challenges, or no response from appellant, ACPE Executive Director or designee:
- appoints a three member appeal panel, including at least one educator, one member of the public, and one practitioner, and whose members have no personal/professional conflict of interest in the particular appeal.
- designates one member as Panel Chair.
- sends appeal materials to Panel:.
- statement of appellant of grounds for appeal.
- record of the decision.
- additional documentation as needed to clarify the appeal grounds.
- Commission Action Report of adverse decision.
- The Panel Chair, with the assistance of the Executive Director or designee:
- establishes date and place of hearing; hearing may be scheduled in-person or via video conference
- notifies the appellant and Accreditation Commission Chair
- Executive Director sends the appellant any of the above materials they do not have.
- Within 15 days of ACPE sending by email the notification to the appellant about the hearing, the appellant may submit to documentation citing additional grounds for the appeal to the panel; comment is limited to commentary on the written record. Documentation may not include new evidence, materials, or information developed after the decision was rendered.
- Within 30 days of ACPE sending the notification about the hearing, the panel holds a hearing. No audio or audiovisual recording of a hearing is allowed.
- Appearance at the hearing
- Appellants may bring legal counsel to represent the institution or program.
- A representative of the commission that rendered the adverse decision may also appear and speak, at the discretion of the commission or at the request of the panel.
- At the discretion of the panel, appellant and entity representative may be heard at separate times.
- The hearing panel will:
- affirm the original decision, or
- amend the original decision for implementation by the Accreditation Commission, or
- remand the original decision to the Accreditation Commission for further action.
- Panel must identify specific issues to be addressed by the Accreditation Commission;
- provide specific instruction to the appellant and Accreditation Commission, including but not limited to:
- submission of new materials,
- other matters as befits a just and equitable outcome in the opinion of the Appeal Panel.
- Appearance at the hearing
- ACPE shall notify the institution or program via registered email of the result of its appeal and the basis for that result. After receipt of the Appeal Panel’s findings by all parties, disposition of the appeal shall be published. See Commission notifications to the U.S. Secretary of Education, appropriate state agencies, and the public via the ACPE website.
- Within 30 days following the hearing, the panel chair(s) consults with the Accreditation Commission Chair to address any procedural issues found not in compliance with ACPE Standards or the Accreditation Manual.
- Final Ruling: The ruling of the Appeals Panel is final and binding for ACPE.
Responsibility for costs of appeal
- Appellant(s) is responsible for all costs for expenses related to initiating/presenting the appeal, including travel for the hearing and any legal counsel.
- ACPE is responsible for costs to it associated with decisions made by the Accreditation Commission, i.e., Appeal Panel, Commission representative, legal consultation to ACPE with ACPE designated attorney(s).
- The ACPE Executive Director or designee authorizes all ACPE related expenses. ACPE is not responsible for unauthorized legal services.