How does one monitor accreditation for a school?
August 10, 2012 2:10 PM   Subscribe

How does one monitor accreditation for a school at a university? A job description lists monitoring accreditation standards for a school -- both regionally and also with a particular accrediting body for that discipline (say, like APA for psychology). It also must take into account oversight of extension campus accreditation. What would you assume this responsibility requires?

I'm trying to research this, but I am not exactly sure what to be looking for to make sure I have all the information. I believe that it requires report writing to the accrediting agency, and also putting together committees for self-assessments and final evaluations by the accrediting body. Can anyone point me to good resources online, or tell me from first-hand experience? I'd like to understand "big picture" what this may mean in terms of overall responsibilities, but also understand the minutia of getting the job done, from beginning (committee formation?) to end (which I assume is a final report/evaluation/visit from accrediting agency).
posted by SpacemanStix to Education (6 answers total)
You might find better information if you look up institutional research, which manages a lot of this functionality. I don't have time right now to go into this more, but also you should know that this will vary a lot from institution to institution depending on the needs of that particular school.
posted by Nimmie Amee at 2:18 PM on August 10, 2012

Attention to detail. Getting internal people to give you data in a timely way (including telling them well enough ahead of time that they need to collect it, maybe training them how to collect it). Checking off check boxes and getting all your info in on deadline, even when people fail to give you the data on time.
posted by vitabellosi at 2:52 PM on August 10, 2012

Every accrediting agency has slightly different requirements. My own experience in being part of the steering committee for NEASC accreditation visits for a private university was that it involved endless report-writing, gathering of reams of documentation, and multi-day campus visits. The NEASC policies are here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 2:54 PM on August 10, 2012

For my school, at the end of the year they documented the course structure (in terms of required and optional classes and syllabuses), collected up all graded assignments and exams, and asked all students to be available for interview.

People from the accrediting body would then come in and look at all the course structure material, plus a random sample of the graded assignments and exams to make sure they were being graded at a reasonable standard. I never knew of any students being called for interview, but I assume it happens sometimes.
posted by Mike1024 at 3:34 PM on August 10, 2012

Are you looking for information at a university-wide level? If so, I think you're looking for institutional research. Most universities have a department that monitors such things, comparing their own metrics to other institutions with similarities (size, public vs private, membership in consortia, etc). They also collect information via course evaluations of course.

For a particular department that's also accredited by an outside agency, I think the agency will visit on some schedule (every 5, 10 years, whatever) and sit in on classes, interview students, and look over the syllabus for various classes to ensure they include certain topics. Anecdata: in my graduate department, we received a "probationary pass" from the national agency for lacking a faculty member with a certain focus of scholarship, with a guaranteed pass if one was hired for the following academic year.
posted by epanalepsis at 6:48 PM on August 10, 2012

Okay, those were really helpful answers and have gotten me going in the right direction. Thank you!
posted by SpacemanStix at 9:50 AM on August 11, 2012

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