Accrediting agencies are facing significant outside pressure over their independence and performance, raising questions in some quarters about the viability of education's system of institutional peer review. But one of the country's six regional accreditors of colleges is facing a threat from within, in the form of a nasty internal battle with its parent organization.
WASHINGTON -- Higher education researchers collectively lamented the barriers to real innovation at colleges and universities here Thursday, while acknowledging that precious few agreed-upon strategies for transformational change have gained any real foothold within the “industry.”
College presidents, faculty/staff unions and state education leaders rarely agree about anything. But mutual frustration with a regional accreditor has united strange bedfellows in California’s community college sector.
WASHINGTON -- The subject of a House of Representatives hearing Thursday seemed like an unusually obscure, in-the-weeds topic for a Congressional committee to spend its time on: an accrediting agency's standards for assessing a college's policies on academic credit hours.
The announcement last year that Brandeis University planned to sell its noted, 6,000-piece collection of modern art stunned and angered museum officials around the world. The university said it needed money for its other operations. But to the art world, the plan represented a rejection of the idea that nonprofit institutions do not sell art from their museums except as a means to expand their collections.
Signs of the economic downturn are evident many places you turn in higher education these days: in the exploding demand for student financial aid, the imposition of faculty and staff furloughs, and an upturn in the number of nonprofit colleges being transformed into for-profit institutions.
One of the country's six regional accrediting agencies risks losing its federal recognition if it is unable to alter its structure so that it is fully independent, financially and operationally, from its parent organization, the U.S. Education Department has warned.
Critics of for-profit higher education have of late drawn attention to what they see as a pattern of "accreditation shopping" in which for-profit entities purchase financially struggling nonprofit colleges, and then hold on to the regional accreditation that the nonprofit colleges had for years, even as the new owners expand or radically change the institutions' missions.
The accreditor of Dana College wants the world to know that it didn't revoke recognition of the college or order its closure. At the same time, the accreditor is standing by a decision that critics say is tantamount to ordering such a closure. And in an unusual move, the accreditor on Friday issued a public defense of its decision.