Executive Director Update - December 2011

Going Beyond Site-Visit Verification of Campus Data

Great emphasis has emerged on the reliability of placement data reported by career colleges and schools to their accreditors and disclosed to prospective students, employers and policy makers. The integrity of these data is fundamental to the credibility and accountability of the accreditation process and to the individual post-secondary institution. More importantly, accurate and verifiable placement outcomes establish a level of transparency that enables prospective students to make informed enrollment decisions.

In an effort to fortify the reliability of placement data, the Council has adopted the broad outlines of a new regime of verification protocols that may be applied to individual institutions during the accreditation cycle and to all institutions on a recurring basis. The regime will harness the resources and expertise of third-party verification teams to test and in some cases re-test placement rates reported to ACICS.

The fortified regime will augment the on-site verification of placements by program specialists during the accreditation cycle. On-site verification will remain as a primary tool used by ACICS evaluators in checking the veracity of placements. However, the Council has determined that a broader and deeper verification is appropriate in order to maintain high credibility. The details and design of the new verification protocol will be settled at the January policy meeting (next month) and conveyed to all member institutions shortly thereafter.

As always, the Council expects that any public representation of institutional performance, particularly those related to student achievement outcomes, will be based on solid, verifiable data that are collected and packaged in a manner that reflects the highest standards of integrity and transparency. Watch for more details in the next edition of the ACICS “Memo to the Field.” 

ACICS Leader Appointed to Rulemaking Team

Executive Director and CEO Al Gray has been selected to represent national accreditors on the newly-formed negotiated rulemaking team for student lending issues, established by the U.S. Department of Education. The rulemaking sessions will focus on regulatory reforms for the Direct, FFEL and Perkins Loans programs of Title IV, Federal Student Aid. The negotiators will commence meetings in Washington, D.C. in January and meet through March in an effort to reach consensus on a body of reforms. Dr. Gray will be consulting financial aid specialists at ACICS member institutions to inform his participation in the rulemaking negotiations.

Program Level Measures Effective Immediately

New program-level standards for student achievement have been adopted and made effective Jan. 1, 2012 by the Council.  Implementation will occur in two phases.  Institutions scheduled for site visits during 2012 will see the application of the program-level standards by the evaluator teams; findings will be reflected in team reports, which the institutions will have an opportunity to address in their written response.  In 2013, institutions will be subject to the application of the program-level standards along with any resulting citations. Council will review both elements during accreditation deliberations, applying standard accreditation intervals and protocols. The standards and accountability protocols reflect extensive commentary and recommendations solicited from member institutions, employers, faculty and other stakeholders during summer and fall, 2011. The program-level expectations also reflect the arduous deliberations of Council during three meetings in order to achieve a balance between institutional capabilities and the interests of students. Look for more details in the upcoming edition of the “Memo to the Field.”

Celebrating 100 Years of Leadership in Quality Assurance

ACICS enlisted the help of prominent business, academic and policy makers to kick-off its Centennial celebration in Washington D.C. this month. More than 50 members of the education and policy committee attended the thought-leadership event and reception, with a keynote address by U.S. Rep. Virginia Foxx.  Watch an archived webcast of the landmark event, and retrieve more details about the Centennial festivities 

Workshop Calendar for 2012
ACICS has set the schedule for a series of accreditation workshops during 2012, intended to improve access to member institutions throughout the nation.
2012 Workshop Schedule!