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Become a Site Visitor

Why Become A Volunteer Site Visitor

Help ensure today’s students are learning the vital skills and values to become tomorrow’s planning leaders when you become a Site Visitor. Site Visitors are a 3-person team of volunteer peer reviewers representing the academy and the profession that review information provided by the planning program before conducting a Site Visit. 

By becoming a volunteer Site Visitor, you’ll:

  • Experience the peer review process first hand
  • Support and contribute to the education of future planners
  • Network with new colleagues
  • Travel to universities across the country
  • Gather new ideas, emerging trends and share best practices

Accreditation is based upon peer review with representation from both the academy and the profession. Site Visitors will review the information provided by the planning program before conducting an on-site campus visit. The objectives of a Site Visit include: verifying the information the Program has provided; gathering new information through observation and interviews; assessing the degree to which the Program meets PAB accreditation standards; and identifying Program strengths and areas for improvement with the intent of helping the Program move toward excellence.

Each day of the visit is filled with meetings (faculty, senior administration, students, alumni, employers, etc.), reviewing student work, and touring the facilities. On the final morning the team conducts exit meetings where its findings are verbally shared with the program and university administration. Once the visit is over, the team prepares a formal written report of its findings. The report becomes a critical part of the record the PAB will review in making its accreditation decision.

Additional detail on the Site Visit and accreditation process is available in PAB’s Site Visitor Manual.

Application Information for Practitioners

The American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) is responsible for nominating qualified practitioners to the PAB Site Visit Pool. The AICP standing committee solicits and reviews applications. PAB then reviews and votes on nominees recommended by the AICP President

It will typically be 2 – 3 years before an admitted applicant will be scheduled for his/her first Site Visit experience.

Qualifications for Practitioner Site Visitor Applicants

The AICP’s Policy on Practitioner Applicants to the PAB Site Visitor Pool provides detailed information on eligibility requirements and the application process.

Applications may be sent to Felicia Braunstein, APA’s Director of Professional Practice at: getinvolved@planning.org

Site Visitor Training

Applicants who have been approved for membership in the Site Visitor pool must attend PAB’s training sessions before they can participate on a visit.

Application Information for Educators

The Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning (ACSP) is responsible for nominating qualified planning educators to the PAB Site Visit Pool. The ACSP’s PAB Advisory Committee solicits and reviews applications. PAB then reviews and votes on nominees recommended by the ACSP President.

It will typically be 2 – 3 years before an admitted applicant will be scheduled for his/her first Site Visit experience.

Qualifications for Educator Site Visitor Applicants

The ACSP’s Policy on Educator Applicants to the PAB Site Visitor Pool provides detailed information on eligibility requirements and the application process.

Applications may be sent directly to any one of the ACSP committee members:

John Carruthers, Ph.D., Chair
Cornell University
john.carruthers@cornell.edu

Kerry Brooks, Ph.D.
Eastern Washington University
kbrooks@ewu.edu

Justin Hollander, Ph.D.
Tufts University
justin.hollander@tufts.edu

Rachel Kleit, Ph.D.
The Ohio State University
kleit1@osu.edu

Marla Nelson, Ph.D.
University of New Orleans
mnelson@uno.edu

Site Visitor Training

Applicants who have been approved for membership in the Site Visitor pool must attend one of PAB’s training sessions before they can participate on a visit.

“While PAB Site Visits are a great way to learn about what other institutions around the country are doing, they also contribute a very useful means of learning about one’s home institution by viewing it from a larger perspective. I also value the fact that PAB accreditation is undertaken by peers, and not imposed from above”
Eric Heikkila, Ph.D.

“As a practitioner on a Site Visit Team, I have the opportunity to see how different university planning programs are preparing the planners who will be advising and directing the future of our communities. Not only have I always returned from a site visit confident that the planning profession has a bright future, but I often returned with new ideas about how to perform my professional responsibilities in a more effective way”
Michael A. Harper, FAICP

“Each visit provided an opportunity to see an interesting place, meet interesting people, including the other members of the Site Visit Team. Spending three rather intense days working with someone has resulted in lasting friendships. And I continue to enjoy learning about how other folks do planning education. Whether you are an academic or a practitioner, I would encourage you to consider applying for the Site Visitor pool”
Gary Sands, Ph.D.