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Overview of Institutional Accreditation AASCU Conference, Beijing, China 20 October, 2007 Jean Avnet Morse President Middle States Commission on Higher.

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Presentation on theme: "Overview of Institutional Accreditation AASCU Conference, Beijing, China 20 October, 2007 Jean Avnet Morse President Middle States Commission on Higher."— Presentation transcript:

1 Overview of Institutional Accreditation AASCU Conference, Beijing, China 20 October, 2007 Jean Avnet Morse President Middle States Commission on Higher Education 3624 Market Street, Philadelphia, PA USA

2 Topics Overview of U.S. Accreditation The Accreditation Process Analysis of U.S. Accreditation

3 Overview of U.S. Accreditation Goals of the American accreditation system: –Assure the public that minimum standards are being met –Provide a mechanism for institutional improvement –Allow for a diversity of public and private institutions –Provide a self-regulating system that reduces government regulation

4 Overview of U.S. Accreditation contd Evaluation is done through peer review examination of: –Educational programs, student services, financial condition, administrative effectiveness, treatment of students, faculty and staff, and includes all non-degree and specialized programs Role of the government includes: –State: Licensure of institutions to grant degrees –Federal: Provision of loans/grants to students at accredited institutions

5 Overview of U.S. Accreditation contd Types of Accreditors –7 Regional Accreditors Examine entire institution Similar standards –Specialized and Professional Accreditors Specific programs –National Accreditors Degree-granting & non-degree granting institutions across the U.S. Specialized type of institutions, e.g. distance learning, liberal arts colleges

6 Overview of U.S. Accreditation contd Middle States Accreditation Standards –Principles of the standards Concern for student learning and other outcomes vs. inputs and processes Concern for flexibility Concern for self-assessment, planning and improvement –Content of the standards Define mission. Engage in ongoing planning regarding resource allocation, finances, personnel and other resources. Offer appropriate courses including general education with student support services and qualified faculty and administration Plan ongoing assessment in the area of student learning and institutional performance

7 Overview of U.S. Accreditation contd International Accreditation –Locations abroad are reviewed whether operated by a U.S. institution or by a non-accredited partner. –Institutions abroad may be accredited provided that they meet the same requirements as domestic U.S. institutions.

8 The Accreditation Process There are 4 types of reports that are required from institutions: –The Annual Report or Institutional Profile which provides basic information on the status of the institution. –The Self-Study Report which is prepared every 10 years to provide self-evaluation and planning for the future. –The Periodic Review Report which is submitted 5 years after the Self-Study Report. –The Follow-up Report which provides continued monitoring of the institution, when needed.

9 The Accreditation Process contd Self-Study and Peer Review –Types of self-study: comprehensive, comprehensive with special emphasis, selected topics, and collaborative reviews. –Organization of the self-study includes a steering committee and subcommittees which report to the steering committee –Timeline of the self-study: a self-study design is created and approved by MSCHE; a self-study report is created by the institution; and evaluation team visits.

10 The Accreditation Process contd Team Visits –Proposal of prospective team members selected by Commission staff is given to the institution for review. –Team members include: an expert on outcomes assessment, trained by MSCHE; a finance officer; and individuals with special expertise pertinent to the institutions self-study. –Team members serve voluntarily and receive a small honorarium. –The team compiles its findings and offers recommendations of actions to the Commission.

11 The Accreditation Process contd Types of Actions: –Reaffirmation of accreditation Without conditions With a request for a follow-up report With a request for a follow-up report, followed by a special visit –Deferment of a decision on accreditation –Warning that accreditation may be in jeopardy –Probation –Show cause as to why accreditation should not be removed –Remove accreditation

12 Analysis of U.S. Accreditation Strengths –Promotes a diversity of institutions –Uses experienced volunteers –Has flexibility in addressing new issues, new types of institutions and providers –Reduces government bureaucracy –Assures public awareness regarding the accreditation status of an institution –Promotes continuous monitoring and continuous planning

13 Analysis of U.S. Accreditation contd Areas for Improvement –Possible duplication of activities among specialized and institutional accreditors –Varying requirements of accreditation standards within the U.S –Cost of the institutions time and personnel to conduct the self-study –Publics difficulty in understanding an institutions accreditation status, because accreditation does not provide numerical ratings or rankings

14 Analysis of U.S. Accreditation contd Open Questions in U.S. Higher Education –Should accreditation be national? –Should accreditation be federal? –Should there be standardized tests for the learning of every college graduate? –Are measures such as graduation and job placement rates appropriate indicators of student learning? –Should institutions be ranked? –Should the completed text of self-studies by institutions and reports prepared by teams be publicly available?


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