APA CSW Site Visit Program

Frequently Asked Questions

Who can request a site visit?

Normally, the chair of a department or the chair’s designate will request a visit. It is also possible for an upper-level administrator to request a visit in coordination with the chair.

How much does a site visit cost?

The Department will pay an honorarium of $500 to each member of the Site Visit Team plus a $250 program fee. In addition, the Department will pay for all travel-related costs for the Site Visit Team, including travel to the site, local hotel accommodations, local transportation, and meals. The Site Visit will normally require three nights’ accommodations.

Are site visit team members officially representing the APA?

Members of the Site Visit Team are faculty members at their respective institutions and during the Site Visit act solely in their capacity as consulting faculty members. They are not lawyers nor are they legal advisors. They are not employed by the APA nor are they representatives of the APA.

What methodologies are used by the team?

The team analyzes and reports on departmental climate using best practices from site visits in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) departments. (See, for example, American Physical Society Climate for Women in Physics Site Visits). The site visit program process makes use of an approach that involves triangulation among 5 kinds of information: surveys, report prepared by chair, department (and sometimes university) web sites, focus groups, and individual interviews for anyone who wants them. For a list of physics departments that have had site visits (1990-present), click here.

How is confidentiality protected?

Shielding the identities of people who report concerns or problems is critical to the success of the Program, as those who fear their identities may be exposed will be less forthcoming about their experiences. If institutional climates are to be honestly evaluated and addressed, everyone, including members of underrepresented groups as well as men and department leaders, must feel safe enough to be honest with the Site Visit Team.

In keeping with this need, the Program and the members of the Site Visit Team will keep confidential the names and other identifying characteristics of those who participate in the Site Visit. In the final report, no names will be attached to particular comments, experiences, or events. Within these constraints, the Site Visit Team will provide as comprehensive a report as possible.

Further, the Site Visit Team will not communicate the details of what is learned about the Department as part of the Site Visit process to people other than those who requested the visit. The final report will be directly provided only to those who requested the visit. In cases where the chair of the department alone requests the visit, the Team will not provide the report to institutional administrators, though the Site Visit Team may discuss its initial findings in broad terms with administrators during the site visit itself.

Confidentiality as described above will only be broken if required by law. If a Site Visit Team Member has good reason to believe that illegal behavior (e.g. sexual harassment or sex discrimination) is taking place, and this behavior has not yet been reported and addressed, the Site Visit Team will report this alleged behavior through proper institutional channels, and may need to identify those allegedly engaging in and victimized by this behavior. Reports may also be subject to freedom of information requests.

Do open records laws apply to site visit reports?

Open records laws vary from state to state and by type of institution. It is the responsibility of those requesting the visit to know to what degree a Site Visit report is subject to open records laws and to comply with such laws.