Cover

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Title Page, Copyright

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pp. i-iv

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Foreword. New-Normal Accreditation: Role, Practice, and Values

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pp. vii-xii

We have entered an era of “new-normal accreditation.” Accreditation now has a reshaped role, reshaped practices, and reshaped values. A decade of persistent and unprecedented demands and expectations from government and the public, many described in this volume, have been remaking the fundamentals of traditional...

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1. Accreditation: Introduction to a Contested Space

Susan D. Phillips and Kevin Kinser

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pp. 1-10

With accreditation serving as a significant gateway to more than $120 billion1 in annual federal student aid, there has been a growing and intense interest in the policies and practices associated with quality assurance in higher education: consumers seek reliable indicators of the quality of their investment, institutions...

Part I: Perspectives of Accreditors

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2. Quality Assurance and Quality Improvement: Why and How Accreditation Works

Sylvia Manning

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pp. 13-30

Accreditation derives its value from two principles: (1) in this world, there is no standing still: an institution is either improving or declining; and (2) the only effective agent to assure the quality of an institution is the institution itself. Accreditors usually recognize these principles only tacitly; they are, nonetheless, fundamental...

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3. Change in Higher Education Accreditation: The Perspective of a National Accreditor

Leah K. Matthews

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pp. 31-43

Inadequate educational achievement rates, soaring tuition prices, unsustainable levels of student debt—it is not surprising that the growing prominence of concerns regarding the status of higher education in the United States has caused demands for greater accountability in the performance of institutions of higher...

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4. The Evolving Context of Quality Assurance: A Perspective from Specialized and Professional Accreditation

Joseph Vibert

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pp. 44-64

Specialized and professional1 accreditors play a distinct role in serving the public interest. By assuring educational quality in higher education programs across diverse professions and fields of study, they ensure that there are competent and safe entry-level practitioners in all sectors to provide services to the public. These...

Part II: Perspectives of Institutions

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5. Fixing a Broken Accreditation System: How to Bring Quality Assurance into the Twenty-First Century

Anne D. Neal and Armand Alacbay

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pp. 67-81

The accreditation system is broken.
The current system, which couples peer review and enforcement, simply cannot function as a gatekeeper of federal funds.
The problems inherent in accreditation begin with the regulatory capture that is embedded in the system. Accreditors are membership bodies, funded, operated...

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6. Innovation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education

Michael B. Horn and Alana Dunagan

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pp. 82-101

Higher education is in a time of transition. Colleges and universities are seeking—and sometimes struggling—to keep pace.
The challenges come from a number of directions: the changing population of students, evolving demands of the workplace and society into which students will enter, new frontiers in pedagogy...

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7. Regulatory Experimentation, Accreditation, and Innovation: EQUIP as a Blueprint for the Future of Higher Education

Paul J. LeBlanc

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pp. 102-116

On October 15, 2015, the US Department of Education launched the Educational Quality through Innovative Partnerships (EQUIP) experiment. EQUIP uses the secretary of education’s authority to waive certain Higher Education Act (HEA) Title IV rules to explore new ideas in financial aid. While originally...

Part III: Perspectives of Policymakers

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8. Tensions in the Triad: The Evolution of Institutional Quality Assurance Policy

Peter T. Ewell

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pp. 119-137

This chapter critically evaluates the “Triad” of oversight for higher education in the United States comprising the federal government, states, and accrediting organizations. The focus is principally, but not exclusively, on the accreditation of institutions. The chapter has three main sections. The first examines the motives...

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9. Managing Risk to Students and Taxpayers in Federal Financial Aid

David A. Bergeron

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pp. 138-156

The Higher Education Act (HEA) of 1965 (Public Law 89-329)1 swung open a door to education beyond high school for the young people of America by striving to remove the economic and educational barriers that limited access and success. Since the enactment of the HEA more than 50 years ago, tens of millions of our...

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10. Accreditors as Policy Leaders: Promoting Transparency, Judgment, and Culture Change

Jamienne S. Studley

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pp. 157-171

Accreditors can advance the national higher education agenda for access, affordability, and outcomes by leveraging their natural but underutilized strengths. Beyond their essential responsibility for assessing compliance with core standards, accreditors have three special capacities—call them gifts—they can and should...

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11. Crossing Borders: Accreditation and Quality Assurance in a Globalized World

Madeleine F. Green

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pp. 172-192

In the past 20 years, internationalization has become a broad concept in US higher education, including not only student mobility but also faculty mobility, collaborative research and teaching, internationalization of the curriculum, global citizenship, joint and dual degrees, and the establishment of programs...

Part IV: Perspectives of Consumers

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12. The Employer Quest for the Quality College Graduate Recruit

Edwin W. Koc

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pp. 195-214

These two quotes sum up the core paradox of the college labor market today. While in one sense the market seems flooded with the number of college graduates available to employers (the percentage of the labor force with a bachelor’s degree is greater than at any time in history), a significant number of employers...

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13. Accreditation and Return on Investment

Mark Schneider and Audrey Peek

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pp. 215-229

For many students, choosing a college is the biggest financial decision they have ever made. This choice commits them to years of forgone wages while enrolled and, in a large share of cases, years of student loan payments after they leave school. It is no wonder that students want to know beforehand whether college is...

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14. Does Accreditation Protect Students Effectively?

Barmak Nassirian and Thomas L. Harnisch

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pp. 230-250

With the recent collapses of major for-profit colleges and widespread alarm caused by the size and repercussions of student debt, there is growing public concern about the quality of higher education. Public anxiety about educational quality has focused unprecedented attention on accreditation’s role in protecting students...

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Conclusion. Accreditation: Critical Issues for the Path Forward

Kevin Kinser and Susan D. Phillips

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pp. 251-270

The chapters in this volume have focused on the breadth of concerns about accreditation, and of the causes and possible solutions to the problems it faces. Clearly, this is a contested space; accreditation is on the edge. There are not only different views about what is wrong but also different views about whether accreditation...

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List of Contributors

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pp. 271-276

Susan D. Phillips is a professor at the University at Albany (SUNY) and leadership fellow at the State University of New York (SUNY) Academic & Innovative Leadership Institute. Previously, she served as the provost and vice president for academic affairs and the vice president for strategic partnerships at the...

Index

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pp. 277-284