ACHS's close ties with the aromatherapy, herbal medicine, holistic nutrition, and holistic health industries is key to our success and high quality. We want our students and graduates to have a worthwhile experience as a student that then transitions to the workplace.
Leaders, educators, and employers in the holistic health and wellness industry have a strong self-interest in helping holistic health education improve and in helping students succeed. Well-trained competent graduates not only are more effective employees, salespeople, and ambassadors, they reduce compliance costs and liability exposure and help advance the industry.
One of the most effective ways of providing a link between industry and college is through the ACHS Program Advisory Councils (PACs). ACHS PACs are essential to successful programs and play an important role in guiding, strengthening, and improving existing programs.
What is a Program Advisory Council? Each department at ACHS has a Program Advisory Council with members who are industry experts, including employers and employees who advise ACHS on the needs assessment and learning outcomes for new programs and revision of existing programs. PACs are made up of individuals with experience and expertise in the occupational field that the program serves.
The goal of the ACHS PACs is to ensure that ACHS programs align with employers’ needs for caring, knowledgeable, committed, and informed employees who enter the workforce with holistic health expertise and fundamental job-success skills.
Role of Program Advisory Councils
Connection with industry and employers is key to the success of a higher education program in the 21st century.
ACHS’s PACs are formally constructed to meet accreditation standard III of the Distance Education Accrediting Commission (DEAC), ACHS’s institutional accreditor (set out below). However, ACHS has long enjoyed a more informal and free-flowing information exchange with advisory council members and welcomes all feedback outside the formal meeting process outlined below.
PAC Qualifications & Skills
DEAC requires that PAC members are practitioners and employers in the field for which the program(s) prepares students.
ACHS will provide the following to PAC members:
Key indicators that it uses to demonstrate that it is effectively carrying out its mission: Outcomes Assessment Report
Relevant program details including program description and outcomes and syllabi for included courses
Access to courses within a program if review is requested
ACHS PAC Members:
Are public members who are not otherwise contracted with or employed by the institution
Are appointed by the President or CSO
Have ongoing terms as long as they continue to be practitioners or employers in the field
Are asked to provide written notice 60-90 days before effective PAC resignation date
Required Minimum Participation
ACHS PAC Members:
Attend a minimum of one PAC meeting per year (meeting may be synchronous or asynchronous)
Complete reviews and preparations to facilitate active engagement in that meeting including reviewing draft or existing program and course learning outcomes or objectives
Provide feedback on the College mission and institutional learning outcomes using email or provided google form
Provide advice on the current level of skills, knowledge, and abilities individuals need for entry into the occupation using email or provided google form
Provide recommendations on the adequacy of educational program outcomes/educational objectives, curricula, and course materials using email or provided Google form
Provide advice on the professional competencies needed for graduates to enter the fields for the program
Are available for a phone call from accrediting reviewers during the regular five year reaccreditation review
Maintain strict confidentiality when reviewing any and all proprietary ACHS content (including but not limited to ACHS matrices, ACHS online lecture content, ACHS eTextbook content, ACHS program development content, and the like)
Optional Additional Engagement
While the minimum requirements to be a PAC member are set out above, PAC members may also be involved in the following, depending on their expertise:
Institutional improvement initiatives
May serve as subject matter experts if qualified
May serve as liaisons between ACHS and the employers or professional industries each member represents
DEAC Requirements for PACs
Program outcomes reflect academic competencies at an appropriate level and rigor. They communicate the knowledge and skills students will acquire upon successful completion of the program. The effective design of program outcomes, curricula, and supplemental materials results in cohesive educational offerings and evaluation methods of student learning that are clearly connected to the stated outcomes. The institution delivers clear, up- to-date, and well-organized curricula and instructional materials and provides access to appropriate learning resources. Institutions present evidence that all educational offerings conform to commonly accepted education practices. This section identifies nine (9) core components of Standard III.
D. Comprehensive Curricula and Instructional Materials
Curricula and instructional materials are sufficiently comprehensive for students to achieve the stated program outcomes. Their content is supported by reliable research and practice. The organization and presentation of the curricula and instructional materials are designed using sound principles of learning and are grounded in distance education instructional design principles. The curricula and instructional materials are accurate and reflect current knowledge and practice. Effective procedures are continuously used to keep curricula and instructional materials up-to- date, and reviews are conducted and documented on a periodic basis. Instructions and suggestions on how to study and how to use the instructional materials are made available to assist students to learn effectively and efficiently.
The institution implements an Advisory Council for each major group of programs or major subject matter disciplines it offers. The Advisory Council includes members not otherwise employed or contracted at the institution, consisting of practitioners and employers in the field for which the program prepares students. The institution convenes an Advisory Council meeting at least annually to provide the institution with advice on the current level of skills, knowledge, and abilities individuals need for entry into the occupation. As a part of the institution’s effectiveness planning activities, the Advisory Council provides the institution with recommendations on the adequacy of educational program outcomes, curricula, and course materials.
Note: The above content has been reproduced word-for-word from the DEAC Accreditation Handbook published in May 2017.
New Member Resources
New members may find the following resources helpful:
- History of the College
- Mission, Vision, and Institutional Learning Outcomes
- College Program Catalog
- Consumer disclosures, student retention and placement statistics
- Programs Offered and Program Outcomes (See each department and program) under Academics