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With accreditation under intensified scrutiny from state legislators and other quarters, two national associations have issued a joint statement reminding governing boards of the importance of higher education’s quality assurance system and the role they should play in it.

The Joint Advisory Statement on Accreditation & Governing Boards 2022, from the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation, refreshes a 2009 statement the two groups issued at another time when accreditation had taken heat, then from the Bush administration’s Spellings Commission on the Future of Higher Education.

More recently, legislators in Florida have proposed legislation that would require colleges to regularly change accreditors and give them the right to sue accreditors that take regulatory action against them. The Florida measure came in response to an accrediting agency’s inquiry into external influences over governance at two universities in the state.

The introduction to the joint report from AGB and CHEA cites external influence as one of the “greatest challenges” facing accreditors in their work to ensure quality in higher education, and the report offers a history of accreditation and suggested practices for campus leaders and boards.