Accreditation: What Is It and Why Is It Important?

ACCREDITATION:  College administrators generally know what accreditation is and why it is important, but new administrators will benefit from the brief primer of this complex process in higher education. The following article is intended as a primer for those not familiar with accreditation and may be reproduced for distribution provided the author’s by-line and bio (as it appears in its entirety) is included in the reprint.


There’s a lot to think about when choosing a college. The reputation of the school, quality of the degree programs, faculty qualifications, library and information services, student services and extracurricular activities are all things students and their parents want to know before making their final decision. Students also know it’s important to attend an accredited college. But what is “accreditation,” how does it work, and why is it important to select a college that is accredited? Continue reading

Accreditation as Narrative

ACCREDITATION:  The first time you experience the accreditation process, it seems almost mystical.  The institution goes through an extensive period of self-examination, an accreditation review team visits the school, and the accrediting organization either approves or denies the college accredited status based on the results of those activities.  In the following article, higher education consultant, Marylin Newell explores the narrative process that undergirds the accreditation process.


Everything seems to hang in the balance when a college is going through the accreditation process.  Whether it is seeking initial accreditation or renewing its award through a five or ten year accreditation review, accreditation revolves around the self-study which is both process and narrative.  Consider that the narrative report that represent’s the school’s self-study process may be the more instrumental of the two components when it comes to convincing an accrediting commission of the institution’s ability to meet the standards established for approving accreditation. Continue reading

Books, Movies, and Trailers

Would you agree there are few things more disappointing than reading a very good book then being disappointed by the movie version? As a reader, I have a certain expectation about what the movie will be like after I have read the book (or vice versa). When the two do not closely mirror one another I find myself disappointed, disillusioned and sometimes confused about which experience was real. There is a cognitive dissonance that is created when my expectations are not met by my experiences. I have a theory that the accreditation process is much the same experience. I’ll share the short version of that theory here. Continue reading