By Ramiro Solórzano, Assoc. AIA
Manager, CES Provider Audits
This month I would like to take the time to answer a few frequently asked questions from our Providers. Some questions are best answered one on one and I’m always more than happy to oblige, however I have a general overview of some issues that would be best covered here for the larger audience. Here are some examples of best practices.
For each speaker you have in your organization, they must sign a Speaker Agreement for quality assurance and to adhere to AIA CES policies and procedures. Speaker Agreements must be kept for six years just like any other record regarding your continuing education course.
You are required to distribute course evaluations to members every time you teach a course for course development purposes. To pass audit, providers are required to submit at least 20% of course evaluations per every course session to AIA CES. From Provider experience it is best to distribute them at the beginning of the face-to-face session so that attendees are more likely to fill them out before they leave. Another best practice is to offer them electronically on your company website.
Upon reevaluation, we are discontinuing our 25 percent course content update rule that used to apply to distance education platform providers; the same course can now be submitted under a new or numerous platform providers under a different course number regardless of content. Please review November 26th edition of the Provider Manual to be aware of all CES Provider Policies and Procedures.
Each Provider audit is unique so the length of an audit varies case by case. Here are some examples of cases where certain procedures are done within a certain length of time. If a Provider has not reported attendance within the 10 business after course completion I will email or call them to report attendance and send them resources if they need it. This can take from 1 day to a few days depending how much help they need for attendance reporting training.
If a Provider has branding or product placement during the instructional part of their course, I will ask for all the materials. That includes presentational materials, course evaluations, speaker agreement, and any other materials that might be pertinent to the audit. This kind of audit can take from a week to a month. I will review all the materials and specify where corrections need to be made and I will work closely with the Provider to get them up to speed with our policies and procedures.
A serious violation such as sharing Provider number calls for a lengthy audit. Sharing a Provider number completely diminishes the quality assurance of a course when the Primary Point of Contact for a certain course goes further down the line. If a member has a question about a course and we cannot get a hold of the speaker or course developer, then the quality of that course suffers when we do not have direct contact with all instructors. In a case like this, the course would be suspended for up to 6 months and I will work with the Provider on record and the instructor to follow policies and procedures. We’ve communicated non-sharing of Provider number rule to all providers via the letter sent on November 1, 2011 http://www.aia.org/aiaucmp/groups/aia/documents/pdf/aiab091647.pdf
At the end of the day we all want the same thing: quality continuing education for our members. If there is something that you are not sure about and would like a voluntary review or your courses, I would be more than happy to help.