Executive Director Update - December/January 2011

Sentiments for the Success of Member Institutions in 2011

Turning the calendar page is a good time to reflect on the previous year and consider the challenges and opportunities of the 12 months ahead. It would be stating the obvious to say 2010 was a period of great challenge for the career education sector, including ACICS accredited colleges and schools. It would be an understatement to say the institutions, their owners, administrators and managers expended enormous amounts of energy and resources to confront those challenges, and in most cases rose to the occasion. Finally, it would be a mistake to predict or assume that when it comes to the scrutiny of the quality and integrity of career colleges and schools, the storm has passed and the seas offer clear sailing ahead. Instead, the operative assumption must be that the last easy day was yesterday, and the stamina, proficiencies and skills for effective self-review will be enlisted more frequently and with greater intensity in the months ahead.

ACICS operates under comparable assumptions going into 2011. It portends to be a year of significant challenge and great opportunity. Among other priorities, ACICS will be reviewed by both the Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) for maintaining its recognition as a reliable authority on institutional quality and integrity. We also anticipate protracted discussions with Congressional members and staff regarding the sufficiency and suitability of our methods of accreditation, including formal participation in oversight hearings.

Those challenges will be coupled with opportunities to serve an ever-growing number of institutions (ACICS reached the 859 mark in 2010 and anticipate adding at least another 20 institutions in 2011), introducing new accreditation standards and practices for centrally controlled multi-campus systems, and launching events and activities that lead up to the Centennial Year celebration in 2012.

The agenda is ambitious and some of the road ahead is steep. However, ACICS has assembled the professional, technical and financial resources to achieve all of the goals and more. You would expect nothing less, and ACICS will settle for nothing else.

Best wishes to your institutions in 2011. Expect more opportunities in the coming year to exchange with ACICS your best ideas and practices for serving the hundreds of thousands of students who have invested their time, energy and finances to enroll in your colleges and schools. As always, our primary focus remains on the students.

Al Gray, Executive Director and CEO

Gary Carlson assumes leadership of Council

Former ITT executive and long-time ACICS Council member Gary Carlson has been elected chair of the Council for 2011. Other members of the Executive Committee of the ACICS Board are Roger Swartzwelder, Jill DeAtley, John Kushner and Fran Giglio. New members of the Council are Linda Blair and Lawrence Leak, who will be joined by two other new commissioners in time for the April full council meeting.

Call For Candidates: Board, Council Membership

The ACICS nominating committee invites the submission of qualified candidates to fill two ACICS member commissioner positions on the Board and Council with terms through December 31, 2015.  A special election will be held in March, 2011. Any person employed by a member in good standing and registered as a “Designated Delegate” of that member is eligible to run for election or appointment to the Council and Board.  The powers, duties and responsibilities of the Board and Council are listed in Articles II and III respectively of the ACICS Bylaws which can be accessed on the website   (  Commissioners are expected to attend at least three accreditation action meetings each year, each approximately 3.5 to 4 days in duration.  Attendance at an annual policy planning meeting and the ACICS Annual Meeting are required as well. Members of the 2011 ACICS Nominating Committee are Chairman Roger Swartzwelder, Gary Carlson, Jill DeAtley, Fran Giglio and Brian Stewart. Interested candidates should submit a letter of interest and curriculum vitae to the executive director by January 28, 2011.

Council Adopts New Doctoral Standards, other changes

ACICS has taken additional important first steps toward recognition of its authority by the U.S. Department of Education and CHEA to accredit doctoral level programs. The expanded scope of recognition requires ACICS to demonstrate it has the standards, practices and resources to effectively monitor and assure quality and integrity at institutions offering professional doctoral degrees designed to make students experts in their fields and in the workplace.  These include degrees such as the J.D., Ed.D., DFA, DBA, etc., but exclude the Ph.D. The Council reviewed and has conveyed to member institutions for comment new standards, developed by an ad-hoc committee. The new content is in the December memo to the field. The memo also contains information about changes the Council reviewed regarding the power and authority of the ACICS Review Board, requirements for new grants of accreditation, and expectations regarding faculty development.                                                       

Mark Your Calendar: Annual Meeting June 3, 4 in Grapevine, TX

The ACICS Annual meeting is just around the corner. ACICS looks forward to seeing all member institutions in early June at the Gaylord Texan Resort in Grapevine, TX. Look for more information in the coming weeks about workshops, program content and logistics.                                                                            

New employees at ACICS:

Kortne Edogun has joined ACICS family as an Accreditation Coordinator. She holds an M.A. in Public Policy, a B.S. in Engineering Science and a B.A. in French from Vanderbilt. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Urban Education Policy. She has served as a research assistant at Vanderbilt, a teacher in the Nashville schools system. Recently she served in the Office of the State Superintendent of Education, Washington, DC as a Policy Advisor.  Please join ACICS in welcoming Ms. Edogun.

Upcoming Workshops and Webinars

AWARE Webinar
January 21, 2011

Accreditation Workshop
September 24, 2010

Adding Value Workshop: IEP
January 27, 2011
Plantation, FL

Evaluator Webinar
January 28, 2011

AIR/IEP Workshop
February 1, 2011
Rio Grande, PR

Retention and Placement Workshop
Febuary 18, 2011
ACICS Office

Initial Applicant Workshop
Febuary 24, 20111
ACICS Office

Accreditation Workshop
Febuary 25, 2011
ACICS Office