The Commission met December 2 – 4, 2015, for the final meeting of the year. Each meeting includes both accreditation decisions and governance actions, per the Commission’s charge.
As is now typical, the Commission reviewed a wide range of sites in various accreditation statuses, making the decisions listed under the Recent Decisions tab on the CEA website. Following the December meeting and as 2015 closes, CEA accredits 292 programs and institutions.
Sites undergoing accreditation decisions at the next meeting are always listed at least 30 days in advance and for the April 2016 meeting, can be found under the Upcoming Reviews tab on the landing page of the CEA website. 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. Information about how to make a public comment is also available at Upcoming Reviews tab.
As accredited sites settle in to their accredited statuses, some are responding to reporting requirements or are reporting substantive changes as required by CEA policy, and these reports are reviewed by the SCC at each meeting. As CEA has grown, the SCC’s work has grown as well; over 100 reports were reviewed at the December meeting. Sites are reminded to contact CEA staff with any questions about substantive changes and any necessary reporting.
Standards Review Committee (SRC) actions
The SRC reviews the CEA Standards on a regular rotation; in 2015, the SRC reviewed the Mission, Faculty, Facilities/Equipment/Supplies, and Student Complaints standards. To determine whether changes should be recommended, the SRC follows a protocol that includes collection and review of data on compliance with the standards, indications of their clarity and validity, and review of site and reviewer feedback on the standards. As a result of this process, the SRC did not recommend any changes to the CEA Standards themselves, but did recommend selected language changes to the Discussion sections of certain standards; the changes clarified the intent of the standards and did not change the intent. The updated 2016 CEA Standards will be posted to the CEA website in mid January 2016.
The Commission completed several large tasks this year; those previously reported include a process to resolve the “echo” created by the 2013 Accreditation Act, resulting in a sustainable calendar of re-accreditations beginning in 2017, a full review of each of CEA’s legal practices and positions, and an external financial review of CEA’s financial and accounting practices. At the December meeting, the Commission addressed two remaining major initiatives.
Concluding a process begun in early 2015, the Commission finalized and adopted a new 5-year strategic plan. The CEA 2016 – 2020 Strategic Plan will be posted at the CEA website in mid-January 2016. The plan reflects a commitment to maintaining CEA as a high-quality, large, diverse specialized accreditation agency, while also committing to strengthened outreach and services to accredited sites and the field.
Policies and Procedures Manual review, revision, and reformatting
In August, a task force was established to conduct a complete review of the CEA Policies and Procedures Manual, to edit it for clarity, remove redundancies, and develop certain enhanced policies. The task force completed the first phase of this process, with the full Commission adopting a range of language revisions and certain new policies at the December meeting. The Manual will also be reformatted for presentation as an on-line document, ensuring that necessary policies and procedures can be easily found by users. The revised 2016 CEA Policies and Procedures Manual will be posted at the CEA website at the end of January, along with commentary on any policy changes. The task force will continue in 2016 with the next phases of their charge, including updating the Commission Procedural Manual.
At the conclusion of the election period, three new Commissioners were elected to serve three-year terms beginning 2016. CEA welcomes Michelle Bell (English Language Programs, INTO USF), Richard McDorman (inlingua Florida), and Rick Lizotte (ESL Programs, Northern Essex Community College). The Commission also includes two Commissioners who are not from the field, who serve as public members; to serve a three-year term beginning in 2016, CEA welcomes one new public member, Joy Stevenson (emerita, University of Central Missouri).
Each year, from among current Commissioners, the Commission also elects officers. It’s my pleasure to announce that CEA’s 2016 chair-elect is Engin Ayvaz (Yasar University) and treasurer is Cindy Ochoa (International Education Consultant). Comprising the Executive Committee, Engin and Cindy join Alexandra Rowe (English Program for Internationals, University of South Carolina), who as 2015 chair-elect will become CEA’s 2016 chair.
At the December meeting, we also honor Commissioners who are departing, and this year we offer thanks for their service to Douglas Palmer and Lynn Donovan.
On a personal note, as my term of Commission service concludes and I hand the chair’s responsibilities to Alexandra Rowe, I must say that it has been my great pleasure and honor to have had this opportunity to serve on the CEA Commission as a commissioner and as Chair. This has been the most rewarding and developing experience of my professional life.
2015 Commission Chair