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History of Education Accreditation

A.Johnson. Reyte on Publishing 2012.

The establishment of Higher Education in relation to accreditation begin in the early 19th century as the United States and other countries saw a need to regulate various fields of academic study. The earliest accrediting was forged from the need to develop credit transfer and degree equivalents among countries. Another reason that accreditation was needed is to protect public health and safety and to serve the public interest according to (ACICS, 2012). Faculty has played a role that has changed over time. There are basic processes involved in accreditation. One being peer assessment and evaluation primarily handled by Higher educational institutions and also third party agencies. The regulatory oversight is the process of promoting legislation at the state and federal level to determine policies of managing the accreditation process. One of the earliest agencies to provide regulation of accreditation was the National Association for Accredited Commercial Schools in 1912. This was a nationwide network of 23 career based schools for private institutions (ACICS, 2012). The main tenet was to create a standardized accrediting standard for determining the level of education required for various vocations. The American Council of Education formed a few years later in 1918 was also a national organization that worked to reduce the redundant efforts of the various standards and strived for regulation of national standardization. As more schools were established, the need for a level criterion policy became more apparent. As institutions for Higher Learning came online the federal government realized it was

necessary to track the institutions that met the national accreditation guidelines and ensure they remained in compliance. One of these was the U.S. Secretary of Education that generated the first database or list of institutions that had received accreditation in 1952 (ACICS, 2012). According to the federal agency, the private agencies were best able to evaluate Higher Educational institutions and felt their responsibility was only to ensure continuance of such accrediting associations (ACICS, 2012). The Higher Education Act of 1956 is under Congress authority and is the main regulatory body of accreditation in the U.S. The most recent review and changes to this federal regulatory standards was in 2008 under the Higher Educational Opportunity Act (ACICS, 2012). There are two basic types of accreditation, mainly institutional and specialized, also called programmatic. Institutional accreditation is based on the university meeting the requirements given by a accrediting agency. The agency conducts an audit of sorts on the administration, academic curriculum, and student success of the college. Producing a report that is quite far reaching and intrusive of all of the college internal and external business from finance to student services (WorldWideLearn, 2012). The school receiving an excellent rating from such an accrediting agency is perceived as a leader in the field of education among other institutions. The specialized or programmatic accrediting process is relegated to professional specialty programs within an already accredited institution (WorldWideLearn, 2012). The specialties are generally associated with a niche field of education within a broader discipline. An example would be in the field of engineering, a specialized course of automotive engineering, or computer engineering. At this point a licensing board may require further academic study within a discipline to achieve acceptable accreditation

within the specialized area. Other field where this is apparent are areas of nursing, law, and even education (AAUP, 2012). Some of the actions of the various agencies involve use of faculty to unite accreditation processes such as peer review assessment and continuous improvement processes. Some examples of roles faculty can provide is in the area of improving accreditation. The use of a educational self preparation for accreditation will require faculty to participate in evaluating their own fields of study within the campus based on national regulatory standards. Faculty members can sit on committees that work together to formulate guidelines and establish coursework and required texts for example that meet the departmentally determined prerequisites (AAUP, 2012). The self-study of an institution sometimes is handled by educational administrators and those that manage faculty. However oftentimes accreditation is viewed as a mysterious process that faculty is unaware of. Yet many Higher education institutions provide access to the self study procedures with full disclosure to faculty members (AAUP, 2012). Administrators are generally very open to having assistance from faculty to fulfill accreditation requirements. Faculty members are best able to provide curriculum related information as well as academic assessment. In addition to the effectiveness of courses and how they affect the overall performance of students and graduation (Perley, 2007). Other areas that are reviewed in the accreditation process may be training of faculty, advisor procedures, and how well previous standards have been implemented at the institution (Perley, 2007). Faculty within the school, are the best qualified and informed to respond to these questions and tackle review and revision of accreditation policy.

Faculty may also have the role of working with administrators to give a concerted effort toward meeting evaluation criteria and academic programming measurements. Some other areas where faculty can provide valuable insight and direction are faculty related governance or self governance issues, tenure situations, and academic license in teaching. All areas that faculty should play a role in recommending principles and values of accreditation. Faculty should also take on the role of advocating accreditation as a badge of quality for the academic content of its programs and courses. This helps to quantify the level of quality to the community of students and even parents that are considering enrollment or having their young adults attend a particular institution. Faculty showing an interest in the improvement of the academic instruction and also the academic content serves to present to the accrediting agency the level of commitment to quality and value of the process of accreditation. There are actually administrators that comment on the lack of participation of faculty in the process (Perley, 2007). Therefore stepping into the role of leading the charge in accreditation is a welcome addition to the responsibilities of faculty. Being the most knowledgeable and experienced in the academic and other functions of the educational institution, it is only fitting that faculty participate in the process. Frederick Crosson made a valid point by stating the provisions of accreditation mandate a role by faculty to improve the curriculum presented to the students collectively (1988). Further he commented though there are various disciplines or courses of study that are quite different, they reflect the combined history, make-up, and resources of the institution (Crosson, 1988). Therefore it is the role of the faculty at the university to

determine how they can individually and collectively contribute to this end. By investing their knowledge and expertise to enhancing the quality and effectiveness of the educational programming of the institution they have chosen to support.

References ACICS.org. (2012). History of accreditation. Retrieved April 13, 2012 from http://www.acics.org/accreditation/content.aspx?id=2258 American Assoc. of University Professors (AAUP). (2012). Institutional accreditation a call for greater faculty involvement. Retrieved April 13, 2012 from http://www.aaup.org/AAUP/comm/rep/instaccred.htm Crosson, F. J. (1988). The role of faculty in accreditation. Academe. Pp. 21. Perley, J.E. (2007) The spellings commission report. Volume 134. WorldWideLearn.com. (2012). Learn about the types of accreditation. Retrieved April 13, 2012 from http://www.worldwidelearn.com/accreditation/types-accreditation.htm