The Institutional Rejoinder

The head of the unit, in consultation with the chief executive officer of the institution, is required to acknowledge receipt of the BOE report and is given the opportunity to comment on it. The institution’s response may simply be a letter that indicates acceptance of the BOE’s findings, or the response may dispute some or all of the findings. The unit may submit supplemental materials pertinent to the facts and conclusions found in the report.

The institutional rejoinder to the BOE report is a vital part of the evidence that the Unit Accreditation Board (UAB) considers as it makes its determination about accreditation. An audit committee of the UAB reads the IR, the BOE report, the institutional rejoinder, and the BOE team chair’s response to the rejoinder as it prepares its recommendation to the full UAB. The UAB may affirm, revise, or remove BOE citations of areas for improvement based on evidence provided in the rejoinder. The UAB may not accept a team’s recommendation regarding met or unmet standards if the data reported by the team or in the rejoinder supports a different decision. Such changes bring consistency to the decisions made by the UAB.

The purpose of the rejoinder is to respond to areas for improvement as well as erroneous statements in the narrative section of the BOE report. The rejoinder may also cite any procedural concerns with the visit. If the unit is contesting the judgments of the BOE team, the rejoinder must indicate the grounds for such a stance and provide documentation to support it. This information should be summarized, cited, and included in an appendix as appropriate.

The areas for improvement cited in a BOE report have an impact on the final decision made by the UAB. Therefore, it is strongly recommended that the unit respond to all areas for improvement cited in the BOE report with which it does not concur.

The following conditions must be adhered to as the unit prepares the institutional rejoinder:

  • All evidence must describe what existed at the time of the on-site review and must have been available to the BOE team. Changes made by the unit after the visit cannot be considered by the UAB in its deliberations.

  • All evidence must relate directly to the NCATE standards and procedures that applied at the time of the on-site review.

When the unit does not respond to the areas for improvement cited in the BOE report, the UAB will assume that the unit concurs with the BOE conclusions.

The institutional rejoinder should include:

  • a letter from the unit head acknowledging receipt of the BOE report;

  • responses to any areas for improvement that the unit believes are erroneously cited;

  • perceptions of procedural concerns, if any, regarding the on-site review or accreditation process that might have prejudiced the BOE judgments; and

  • appendices that contain information to support any request for reconsideration of the BOE judgments. Data may include information that was available at the time of the visit that represents conditions that existed at the time of the visit.

The following are formatting and transmittal requirements for submission of the rejoinder:

  • A rejoinder is to be no longer than 25 pages plus appendices containing selected evidence to support the points made in the rejoinder.

  • Appendices to a rejoinder should not exceed 0 to 4 but should not exceed 25 pages in length.  Specific sections that the UAB should review should be clearly marked.

  • The rejoinder and any accompanying appendices are to be transmitted to NCATE as electronic documents only through AIMS.

The institutional rejoinder must be submitted to NCATE within 30 days of the receipt of the BOE report. When BOE reports are submitted during semester breaks, additional time to prepare the rejoinder will be allowed. The NCATE staff must approve additional time beyond the date indicated in NCATE’s transmittal notification email. Upon receipt of the rejoinder at NCATE, the BOE team chair, who has an opportunity to comment on the rejoinder, will be notified.