The Commission met April 9 – 12, 2015. At the first meeting of each year, the Commission undertakes certain governance tasks in addition to making accreditation decisions. In keeping with good practices in accreditation and to ensure continuity from year to year, the CEA Policies and Procedures require that Commissioners undergo orientation. New Commissioners receive extensive orientation and training prior to their first Commission meeting, and the full Commission then participates in an annual orientation session before the meeting begins. 2015 Commission chair Christine O’Neill led the two-part session, with one part focusing on the characteristics of successful accreditation agencies (as identified by Hamm, 1997) and one part focusing on the characteristics of high-performing non-profit boards (as identified by BoardSource), noting in both cases the ways in which CEA’s practices, policies, and procedures align with these characteristics. The Commission participated in a strategic planning retreat, focusing on setting strategic priorities for the next five years; the 2015 – 2020 strategic plan will be finalized for adoption at the August 2015 meeting.
The Commission made 33 accreditation decisions at the April 2015 meeting. The range of types of sites and decisions now regularly reflects a full spectrum – programs, institutions, and general sites; single and multiple site entities; and initial, continued, re-accreditation, and re-re-accreditation decisions. In keeping with CEA’s policies on public disclosure, and as required by the US Department of Education, CEA announces all accreditation decisions with 30 days of the decision. Accreditation decisions made at each meeting are provided through notifications to the organizations in the field, other accrediting agencies, and to federal and state agencies, as well as to the public on the CEA website. Decisions made at the April 2015 Commission meeting are listed at the Recent Decisions tab on the landing page of the CEA website.
- The Standards Compliance Committee (SCC) is charged with review of follow-up reporting requirements, substantive change reports, Interim Reports, and annual reports as well as oversight of certain other compliance matters. Of note this cycle was the draft summary of annual reports. Sites reported 3.1 million student weeks, with 54% of sites reporting an increase over last year. Average progression and pass/fail rates were also reported, along with evidence that anomalies are investigated and remedied. An overview of annual report data will be provided at the Constituent Council meeting.
- The Standards Review Committee (SRC) reviewed the roll-out of the 2015 Standards (see January 2015 CEA Updates) and began initial review of data related to the standards areas under review for 2015: Mission, Faculty, Facilities/Equipment/Supplies, and Student Complaints.
The 2015 Constituent Council meeting will be held Thursday, May 28, at the Renaissance Waterfront Boston, 3rd Floor, Pacific Ballroom E, 5:30 – 6:30 pm. The meeting program will include an overview of the year, a management report, financial report, and committee reports. In addition, an overview of CEA’s strategic planning initiative will be presented, and the Call for Nominations for 2016 Commissioners distributed.
CEA is expanding the informational and training events offered, including use of virtual events. In January staff delivered an advanced reviewer training webinar to 82 attendees; an annual report instructions PowerPoint was available to explain how to complete the report forms, and was viewed nearly 300 times. More such virtual support and training for sites and reviewers is planned for 2015 on topics to be announced. CEA continues to provide three regular accreditation and reviewer workshops each year (see dates under the Accreditation/Workshops menu on the CEA website) and also now delivers a large number of custom accreditation workshops and consultations for individual sites.
In accordance with 602.23 of US Federal Regulations for accrediting agencies, a recognized accrediting agency must provide public notice that an institution or program is being considered for accreditation and must provide an opportunity for third-party comment. Comments are considered by the Commission in making accreditation decisions. A list of institutions and programs to be reviewed at the April 2015 Commission meeting as well as information about how to make a public comment is available at Upcoming Reviews tab on the landing page of the CEA website.