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Accreditation: Pilot Test Successful, Program Under Way

1 January 2011 No Comment

The ASA’s program for voluntary individual accreditation is under way, and according to ASA Executive Director Ron Wasserstein, “voluntary” is the operative word.

“Some members of the ASA will find value in a peer-evaluated credential that is distinct from their educational credentials,” Wasserstein said. “The accreditation program is entirely meant as a professional service to such members. It won’t be something needed by everyone, but some will find the additional credential valuable.”

Interest in such a program was plainly noted during a 2009 survey of members, Wasserstein said, and borne out by the initial applicants for accreditation. For example, Rhonda Rosychuk, a PhD statistician in the department of pediatrics at the University of Alberta, said, “In working in a clinical setting, most physician colleagues have accreditation. It was important for me to also have accreditation in this setting to be recognized as a professional.” Rosychuk is accredited by both the ASA and the Statistical Society of Canada.

“I applied for accreditation because it would prove useful in my consulting business,” said Timothy Bergquist, professor of quantitative methods at Northwest Christian University. “It would have no impact on my academic standing as a professor. However, it also provided me with peer-level acknowledgement of my capabilities as a professional statistician, in addition to my academic degrees.”

The accreditation program was launched this fall, when the ASA Accreditation Committee began conducting what it calls a “pilot test” of its operating procedures. About 60 people who expressed interest in accreditation were invited to apply. When their credentials were submitted, they were reviewed by teams of committee members. View a list of those ASA members who have been accredited thus far.

The ASA Board of Directors approved the general principles for accreditation in July of 2009. In April of 2010, the board approved an implementation plan, including guidelines for accreditation, and charged the accreditation committee with implementing the program. After developing processes and protocols, the accreditation committee tested them on its own members. Each member of the committee applied for accreditation, and their applications were reviewed through the designed process.

At the same time, ASA IT staff members developed an online application and review system. With the system in place, members of the accreditation committee began pilot testing in October 2010. The initial pilot test continued through the end of the year; the process will now open to more applications.

People interested in applying for accreditation should signal their interest by completing the Intent to Apply form. Filling out the form does not imply any obligation, but does let the accreditation committee know of the potential applicant’s interest. Members of the accreditation committee will notify potential applicants when there is an opportunity to apply.

Some have waited a long time for an accreditation program to be developed. “Accreditation has been
a desire since my earliest days of membership, spanning more than 45 years,” said biostatistician John Bartko. “Frankly, accreditation neither advances my career nor would nonaccreditation compromise it. But I would have regretted not having applied, given my strong feelings for the ASA accreditation program.”

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