Become a Site Visitor
Serving as a Site Visitor is an extremely rewarding experience. It provides volunteers the opportunity to visit universities around the country, meet planners, educators, students and community leaders, and gather new ideas and perspectives on planning.Site Visitors walk away from the experience knowing that they have helped a program enhance itself; thereby contributing to the planning education of future urban planners.
Accreditation is based upon peer review with representation from both the academy and the profession. A 3-person team of volunteer peer reviewers, called Site Visitors, will review the information provided by the planning program before spending 3 days on campus conducting a Site 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.
“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.