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Accountability in Higher Education. Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D. Commission on Colleges--SACS. Challenges. Only 60% of American students graduate from high school in the south (70% nationally)

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Accountability in higher education

Accountability in Higher Education

Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D.

Commission on Colleges--SACS


  • Only 60% of American students graduate from high school in the south (70% nationally)

  • By 2010, we will need 2 million more scientists and engineers and 2.4 million more workers with key manufacturing and production skills

  • Currently, shortages in health care fields, construction, plumbers, machinists, etc.

Challenges cont d
Challenges cont’d

  • Students lack skills in basic math, science, information technology, critical thinking and analytical skills, and writing

  • Fewer visas are being issued resulting in a shortage of foreign workers in some areas

  • Baby boomer retirements will worsen the shortage of workers

Challenges cont d1
Challenges cont’d

  • Expanding global competition

  • Changes in American labor markets

  • Exploding growth of knowledge

  • Innovations in technology

  • Increased Demands for higher skills


  • Our competitiveness as a nation will mean:

    • Fewer innovations

    • Jobs being sent overseas

    • Fierce competition for competent workers

    • Increase in wages to be paid because of competition for workers

How to respond
How to Respond

  • Train more women in non-traditional areas

  • Work with minority students while still in the K-12 system to ensure they are college ready

  • Develop strategies that ensure students will matriculate through college to graduation

  • Link courses thematically

  • Promote service learning

National conversation spellings commission
National Conversation(Spellings Commission)

  • Access

  • Affordability

  • Private loans vs federal aid

  • Accountability

    • Student learning outcomes

    • National Tracking System

  • Transparency

    • Graduation rates

    • Job Placement Rates

Activities after commission report
Activities After Commission Report

  • Secretary accepted the Report in September 06

  • Public hearings on need for negotiated rule-making process in Oct. 2006

  • Meeting of accrediting community in Nov. 2006

  • Negotiated rule-making in March, April and May

  • Summit in March 2007

  • Negotiations Failed

  • Senate approves Reauthorization of HEA--2007

  • House still to vote—2007-08

  • New round of negotiated rule-making--2008

Responses to report
Responses to Report

  • ETS Report, “A Culture of Evidence: Postsecondary Assessment and Learning Outcomes”

  • NASLGCU and AAU’s

  • ASPA

  • CHEA

  • Big Six

Current national issues post spellings commission
Current National Issues (Post Spellings Commission)

  • Identification and Assessment of Student Learning Outcomes

  • Use of Assessment Results

  • Transfer of Academic Credits

  • Greater Transparency

  • Cost/Financial Aid

  • Accountability

History of accreditation
History of Accreditation

  • Based on philosophy that “a free people can and ought to govern themselves through a representative, flexible, and responsive system.”

Purpose of accreditation
Purpose of Accreditation

  • Signifies that “an institution has a purpose appropriate to higher education and has resources, programs, and services sufficient to accomplish and sustain that purpose.”

  • Indicates that an institution maintains clearly specified educational objectives that are consistent with its mission and appropriate to the degrees it offers, and that it is successful in achieving its stated objectives.”

Principles of accreditation
Principles of Accreditation

  • Integrity—honest and open

  • Thoughtful and principled judgment

  • Rigorous application of requirements

  • Context of Trust

  • Voluntary participation

  • Self-regulatory process (peer review)


  • Provides an assessment of an institution’s effectiveness in the fulfillment of its mission, its compliance with the requirements of its accrediting association, and its continuing efforts to enhance the quality of student learning and its programs and services

  • Stimulates evaluation and improvement

  • Provides continuing accountability to the public

Issues reviewed during accreditation process

Fiscal Resources


Planning and Assessment

Student Learning Outcomes



Support Services

Issues Reviewed During Accreditation Process

Assessment strategies
Assessment Strategies

  • Benchmarking

  • Increase in the use of data to make decisions about personnel, curriculum, etc.

  • Types of Assessments

    • NSSE

    • CCSSE

    • CAAP

    • CLA

Assessment strategies cont d
Assessment Strategies cont’d

  • Portfolios

  • In-house surveys

  • Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP)

  • Academic Quality Improvement Project (AQIP)

So what

  • Strong need to expose students to the broadest view of the world as it relates to each discipline

  • Ensure graduates have specific, demonstrated and measurable competencies in the discipline, as well as applied and soft skills

So what1

  • Ensure that the curriculum you design fosters competency in the areas of reading, writing, math, science, technology, global integration, critical thinking, teamwork, ethics, diversity and life long learning

  • Provide proof that your students can perform and, if they can’t, ways to remediate their weaknesses

Contact information

Contact Information

Belle S. Wheelan, Ph.D.

[email protected]