Executive Director Update - October/November 2010

 High Stake Focus On Quality Assurance

Attending to the important mission and recurring operations of ACICS can be intensive and all-consuming, but strategic opportunities often need full attention as well. One such opportunity is recognition by the U.S. Department of Education, which occurs every five years. ACICS is assembling the narrative, exhibits and other material that will comprise its petition to the Department. The current grant of recognition expires at the end of 2011. Review of the ACICS petition for recognition by Department senior officials, the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) and the Secretary will happen in rapid sequence after the petition is submitted in January 2011. ACICS is focused on earning recognition from the Secretary with few or no issues, and ACICS is prepared to meet that challenge. Member institutions may be called upon to provide information or host on-site reviews that are part of the recognition process. The process for recognition includes substantial updates to the ACICS policies and procedures, a comprehensive performance audit by an independent third-party consultant, and direct observations of Council operations and site visits by analysts from the Department. Look for updates about timeframes and contacts in the coming weeks.  


Update: Outreach to Capitol Hill

Policy maker scrutiny of career colleges and education quality was the focus of a Senate hearing in late September. In order to help inform the hearings, ACICS senior leadership visited with members of majority and minority staff for the HELP Committee. The discussions focused on ACICS’ escalated review of institutional quality, including relations with students and admissions/recruitment operations. The information was received respectfully and thoughtfully. However, the concern and scrutiny directed toward ACICS-accredited institutions, as well as all for-profit career colleges and schools, remains substantial. We will continue to meet with Capitol Hill staff and legislators to provide factual information on quality assurance in career education.

Working with CHEA

In September the Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education appointed me to the CHEA Specialized/National Advisory Panel. CHEA plays a key role in defending accreditation and member institutions and is an important information resource and leader in national discussions of quality assurance and of institutional integrity. It is the largest institutional higher education membership organization in the U.S., with approximately 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities, recognizing 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. ACICS has been recognized by CHEA since 2001, and it is an effective relationship that enables ACICS to be a premier accreditor of career education. I am pleased that appointment to the Advisory Panel will enhance ACICS’ working relationship with CHEA.

Leak, Blair to join Council in 2011

Dr. Lawrence Leak of Maryland was appointed to serve as a public member of the Council. Dr. Leak has extensive experience in higher education as an administrator with the University of Maryland University College (retired), as well as faculty member in higher education and secondary education. He is on the board of St. Mary’s College of Maryland, and retains memberships in Phi Beta Kappa and Phi Beta Phi. Dr. Leak’s appointment is effective immediately. Dr. Leak will join Linda Blair, who was appointed to the Council in September, on the Council and Board of Directors. Please congratulate the new members of the Council and welcome them to ACICS.

In Memoriam: David Parmenter

The Council regrets to inform the members of ACICS that Mr. David Parmenter, elected in October to serve a five-year term on the Council and the Board of Directors, has passed away unexpectedly. Mr. Parmenter would have assumed his post in January, 2011. The Council and staff of ACICS extends its heartfelt sympathy and regrets to Mr. Parmenter’s family. The Council will fill the open position.