Monday, September 15, 2014

More Hot Topics in Higher Ed

Submitted by Thomas Skalko, PhD, LRT/CTRS, CAAHEP President

Other hot topics shared during the  Association for Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) meeting were proposals that are being discussed including a proposal by the Administration for rating colleges and universities on quality and value of an education; the use of gainful employment as a variable in the programmatic accreditation process; the implementation of competency-based innovations in education; and proposals to create state level alternative institutional accreditation options.  There seem to be a host of items on the radar with regard to higher education accreditation that impact both institutional and programmatic accreditors.  For programmatic accreditors, ASPA is actively engaged in representing the interests of the programmatic accrediting agencies.

With regard to innovations in education, competency-based education is one of the topics gaining traction.  Some universities are working through the logistics and implementing competency-based education for a host of degree programs. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

Hot Issues Facing Higher Ed

Submitted by Thomas Skalko, PhD, LRT/CTRS, CAAHEP President

In order to keep folks abreast, it seemed logical to pitch a short blog on things that are happening in the accreditation world.  I had the privilege of attending the Association for Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). There seem to be some key issues that are confronting all accreditors. It is time to keep our eyes and ears open and ASPA is playing an important role in representing programmatic accreditors.

On the top of the agenda is the re-authorization of the Higher Education Act. There are competing options and priorities including the comprehensive bill by Senator Harkin, separate partial proposals from the House and the priorities of the Obama Administration.  Currently, there is a push by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) that place greater demands on accreditators. Among the topics of interest include a new push for more transparency and open disclosure of accreditation actions. This transparency includes access to self-studies, accreditation team reports, and accreditation communications. While conceptually some level of transparency may not be overly alarming, the issue, however, on how far the call for transparency goes may indeed be problematic. Will the push include all materials? Will documents and decisions be misinterpreted by the public? Will there be a requirement to release documents prior to an institutions opportunity for due process and opportunity to clarify and offer additional information that may alter decisions? What are the legal implications of full disclosure? So many questions and so few answers!