NAICU Washington Update

NACIQI Reviews Agency Accreditation; Continues Reauthorization Discussion

December 17, 2014

The National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) held its semi-annual meeting on December 11. The committee had a relatively light agenda in terms of accreditation agency reviews, in that its scheduled review of the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP) was delayed until next spring.

Thus, the only agency to come before the committee was the American Veterinary Medical Association, Council on Education (AVMA-COE). Nineteen individuals offered third-party comments about the accreditor—fairly evenly divided between supporters and opponents of the continued recognition of the agency. Opposition to the agency was based largely on its work in accrediting foreign veterinary schools and in accrediting an institution that uses a distributive model of education. The agency’s accreditation was extended for six months, at which time it is to submit a compliance report.

The remainder of the meeting included a presentation by Education Department Under Secretary Ted Mitchell, followed by a committee discussion of a set of additional recommendations for reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.

Mitchell focused his remarks on the need to enhance flexibility in the delivery of education, while preserving academic rigor. He also spoke to the importance of persistence and graduation and the need for transparency. As he indicated at the NAICU Fall Leadership Conference, Mitchell said more specifics about the President’s proposed ratings system will be released soon in the form of “a paper that will describe what we have in mind.”

With regard to HEA reauthorization, the committee intends to develop recommendations supplementing those it put forward in April 2012. The initial outline proposes an ambitious set of changes, ranging from the development of common terms for accreditation actions to the complete overhaul of the system to make all accreditors national in scope and to permit other types of entities to serve quality assurance functions. The draft document also makes several proposals for providing NACIQI with a more substantive role in the recognition of accreditation agencies and in higher education policy generally.

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