General and specialized accreditations at arizona state university
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General and Specialized Accreditations at Arizona State University. Barry G. Ritchie Vice Provost for Academic Personnel Director, Reaccreditation Effort 2013. What it is?. In the U.S., institutions of higher education “voluntarily” seek accreditation from non-governmental bodies.

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General and Specialized Accreditations at Arizona State University

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General and Specialized Accreditations at Arizona State University

Barry G. Ritchie

Vice Provost for Academic Personnel

Director, Reaccreditation Effort 2013

What it is?

  • In the U.S., institutions of higher education “voluntarily” seek accreditation from non-governmental bodies.

  • Students obtain federal financial aid only from those higher education institutions accredited by an agency recognized by the U. S. Dept. of Education.

Accreditation types

  • General accreditation: institution-wide accreditation aimed at assuring general academic program quality and fiscal soundness of the institution.

  • Specialized accreditations: in-depth study of a particular set of professional academic programs (e.g., business, law, nursing) to ensure quality and adherence to professional standards

Who cares?

  • Accreditation provides assurance to the public (including prospective students) that an institution:

    • meets clearly stated requirements for institutional quality

    • has shown reasonable grounds, based on educational and fiscal soundness, for believing that it will continue to meet them

  • Accreditation also provides an opportunity and incentive for self-improvementin the accredited organization

Who does it?

  • For institutions of higher learning in the U.S., there are six regional agencies (“associations”) that provide general accreditation for institutions: Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, and Western.

Who does it?

  • ASU as an institution is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)of the North Central Association.

When does it happen?

  • Every accredited institution must have its general accreditation reaffirmed not later than ten years after its most recent reaffirmation.

    • Under unusual circumstances, the process can be delayed for a year

  • If deficiencies exist, NCA/HLC may require focused visits or interim reports between comprehensive visits

  • NCA/HLC regularly examines annual reports and other information to see whether changes have occurred (or are anticipated) that would necessitate a change in the timing of the next evaluation.

What is the primary goal for the ASU reaccreditation effort?

  • The primary goal is the reaffirmation of ASU’s accreditation without requirements by HLC for follow up interim reports or visits.

  • To that end, we have:

    • Identified and resolved issues that might hinder achieving this goal.

    • Documented that ASU meets all Criteria for Accreditation in a Self-Study Report.

    • Carried out the process with integrity so that the findings will be accepted not only by HLC but also by the communities served by ASU.

How has/will the process work?

  • We conducted a comprehensive review of all operational areas with respect to HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

  • We summarized that review in a Self-Study Report in accordance with HLC expectations.

  • An HLC Evaluation Team of 16 academic from across the country trained by HLC will conduct a comprehensive site visit for continuing accreditation (March 25-27, 2013), and write a report containing the team’s recommendations.

  • HLC’s Institutional Actions Council will take action on the Evaluation Team report.

  • HLC Board of Trustees will validate the work of the IAC, finalizing the action.

  • Notification of the final decision will be sent during Fall 2013.

What are the HLC Criteria for Accreditation?

  • Mission. The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

  • Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct. The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

  • Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support. The institution provides high-quality academic programs, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

  • Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement.The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

  • Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Criterion Components

Example: Criterion 1 – Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.


  • The institution’s mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.

  • The mission is articulated publicly.

  • The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.

  • The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.

Criterion Subcomponents

Example: Component 1A

The institution’s mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.


  • The mission statement is developed through a process suited to the nature and culture of the institution and is adopted by the governing board.

  • The institution’s academic programs, student support services, and enrollment profile are consistent with its stated mission.

  • The institution’s planning and budgeting priorities align with and support the mission.

How has the ASU Self-Study effort been organized?

  • Director: Barry Ritchie (assistant: Peggy Reid)

  • Steering Committee: Seven individuals with broad knowledge of the institution

  • Criterion Teams: One team for each criterion, with about five members per team.

  • Resource Team: Individuals with expertise in specific university functional areas who provide additional conduits for information

  • Editorial Team: Prepares final version of Self-Study Report

ASU Self Study Report

  • Currently in final drafting process

  • Open forums have been held within the university community for feedback

  • Outside stakeholders have been contacted to provide additional feedback directly to HLC

  • The final draft document will be submitted in January (250 + pages)

  • The site team will visit in March 2013

Accreditation of Professional Programs at ASU

  • ASU has over 75 specialized professional accredited degree programs

  • Professional associations, such as the American Psychological Association, require specialized accreditations for all degree programs.

  • Length of accreditation term varies from 5-10 years depending on association

Selected Professional Accreditations: over 70 programs

  • Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET): all engineering programs

  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International): all business programs

  • American Bar Association (ABA): law school programs

  • National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB): Master’s of Architecture program

  • National Association of Schools of Music (NASM): programs in the School of Music

  • Council of Social Work Education (CSWE): undergraduate and graduate programs in Social Work

  • American Psychological Association: selected programs in psychology and education programs.

Professional Accreditation Processes at ASU

  • Academic units which have professional accredited programs prepare self-study reports based on the very specific criteria for each professional accrediting body

  • A site team visits the university and reviews the curriculum, faculty, productivity (e.g., degrees awarded, placements)

  • If problems are found, then academic unit need to submit documents demonstrating solutions; occasionally receive partial accreditation so team revisits in 2-3 years.

  • If program is in good condition, then full accreditation is granted.

Thank you for your attention.Questions?

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