January 2011 News

Happy New Year from CEA! Members of the Commission and CEA staff send best wishes for 2011 and thank everyone who has supported CEA over the past 10 years. We specifically thank all members of the Constituent Council, the many volunteer reviewers who play such a critical role in the review process, and of course the commissioners, whose responsibility it is to make final accreditation decisions as well as to govern CEA. Their work includes making policies that will sustain CEA as an accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.

Adoption of the revised CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions
The Commission has approved revisions to the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions. CEA sought input from the field on proposed revisions to individual standards through a survey on Survey Monkey. The Standards Review Committee reviewed the 130 responses including the many comments and made changes as appropriate prior to the vote by the Commission. At the same time, the Commission approved clarifications to the context and discussions of the standards, which underwent a comprehensive review last summer. The Commission is confident that the changes will result in a standards document that is less redundant and clearer in expressing the intent of each standard.

New self-study report template
The Task Force on Accreditation Procedures has completed its work on a revision of the Self-study Guide in preparation for CEA’s move to an electronic format. Unlike the old form, the new template requires responses to specific standards-related questions in a variety of formats (narrative text boxes, check lists, yes/no/if then questions, and so forth).

The new template, which also uses the revised standards, will be introduced at the January 27-28, 2011, Accreditation Workshop and will be the required self-study format for all new applicants in the future. It is expected that CEA’s new on-line system will be ready for use later this year after training materials are developed. Sites that are currently working on their self-studies will continue to use the current format and be reviewed on the basis of the current standards

Amendment to the definition of CEA’s scope of accreditation
CEA is recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as both a programmatic and an institutional accrediting agency in the U.S. Programmatic accreditation is available for English language programs (intensive English programs) in colleges and universities that are regionally or nationally accredited. Institutional accreditation is for stand-alone English language schools.

At its December, 2010, meeting, the Commission discussed how CEA can offer programmatic accreditation to a university or college English language program when the university has a contractual partnership with an outside entity to provide some services previously offered through the program. This led to a review of CEA’s current “scope” of programmatic accreditation, as stated in the CEA’s Policies and Procedures, which defines the types of accreditation offered by CEA: “Within the U.S, programmatic accreditation for intensive English programs (IEPs) in universities and colleges, including community colleges, that are accredited by a regional or other institutional accrediting body. “

The definition has been amended as follows: “Within the U.S, programmatic accreditation for intensive English programs (IEPs) with a direct reporting line within the administration of universities and colleges, including community colleges, that are accredited by a regional or other institutional accrediting body. “ Q

Policy updates
The Commission has amended two policies:

  • Procedures for accreditation of a new site is a policy that gives an already accredited site an opportunity to seek preliminary accreditation for a new site without waiting for a year to seek eligibility, if the new site replicates the policies, procedures, curriculum, etc., of the accredited site. The Commission approved an amendment to the policy: A site granted either 1-year initial or re-accreditation is not allowed during that period to seek accreditation for a new site.

  • Policy on change of control or ownership : In seeking CEA accreditation, English language programs and institutions must respond to the following standard, which requires a clear description of the organizational structure within which the program or institution exists as well as of the functional relationships it maintains with internal and external entities.

    Administrative and Fiscal Capacity 1: The program or institution clearly defines and provides a rationale for formal linkages with other entities.

    For programs within universities and colleges, this may be a relationship with a division or department within the university or college. For language institutions, this may be a corporate structure within which the school operates. In all cases, the program or institution must describe its relationship to any entity which has authority over it and to which it reports, or with which it shares authority over any aspects of its instructional program, administration, or services.

    If that relationship changes, CEA must be assured that the program or institution remains in compliance with the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions in all standards areas. Thus, the change must be reported to CEA as a substantive change prior to the change taking place in order for accreditation of the program or institution to continue under the new control or ownership.
Calculation of fees for multiple-site entities
The structure for calculating sustaining fees charged to multi-site programs and institutions has been revised. Beginning in 2011, the fees will be $0.55 per student week for all students at all sites with a cap of $7,600 total for student weeks at all sites. In addition, there will be $1,700 base fee for the first site and $500 fee for each additional site.

These revised fees reflect two realities: (1) some college and university program, like some of their independent language institution counterparts, are opening additional sites, and (2) CEA’s multi-site fees have not been competitive and thus not attractive financially to multi-site programs and institutions. Inquiries from multi-site institutions provide evidence of their interest in CEA. However, few of these institutions have actually sought accreditation through CEA.

Currently CEA accredits few multi-site institutions and programs, so this change in multi-site fees at this time has minimal budgetary effect. Over time, it is anticipated that the budgetary effect will be positive. As seen from the steady increase in numbers of applicants each year, the value of CEA accreditation is growing, and this change in the pricing structure for multi-sites will likely provide an additional incentive for multi-sites to seek CEA accreditation. This revised fee structure comes into play only when a program or institution has more than one site. Sustaining fees charged single site programs and institutions remain the same: a base of $1,700 plus $0.55 / student week and a cap of $7,600.

Accreditation actions
In accordance with Section 602.26 of the U.S. Secretary of Education's Recognition of Accrediting Agencies, notice is hereby given of the following accreditation actions.

Granted 1-year re-accreditation
LAL, Ft Lauderdale

Granted 9-year continued accreditation
Showa Boston

Granted 10-year re-accreditation
Converse International School of Languages, San Francisco

Granted 4-year continued accreditation
Converse International School of Languages, San Diego
Maryland English Institute, University of Maryland

Granted 5-year initial accreditation
English Language Institute, University of California, San Diego
Instituto de Idiomas, Universidad del Norte, Colombia

Denied continued accreditation (appealable)
International Academy of English, San Diego

2011 brings changes on the Commission
Starting January 1, CEA welcomes four newly elected commissioners, who will begin service through 2013: Christa Hansen, Georgetown University; Dana Harper, Emily Griffith Opportunity School (Denver); Steve Thewlis (Golden Gate University, retired); and Bill Wallace (University of Alabama). At the same time, CEA thanks the four commissioners that ended their service to CEA December 31: The Commission and CEA staff thank Leyah Bergman-Lanier (Spring International, University of Arkansas), Janet Chang (inlingua, Arlington VA, 2010 Treasurer), Debbie Sandstrom (University of Illinois, Chicago, 2010 Chair), and Kathy Trump (George Mason University. Kathy Romstedt, Ohio State University, had to resign in August. Terry Simon, Texas Intensive English Program, will complete the last year of Kathy’s term. A full list of commissioners appears on the CEA web site.

Interest in CEA accreditation grows
CEA continues to have a healthy increase in the numbers of accredited sites, with 90 sites accredited and over 40 in process of seeking accreditation as of the December 2010 Commission meeting . With the signing of the legislation to require accreditation for English language schools in the U.S., the numbers are likely to grow over the coming years. In addition, there is continued interest from outside the U.S. continues with programs in Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Mongolia, and Ireland at some stage of the accreditation process. As an indication of this interest, Terry O’Donnell, Executive Director, was invited to attend and give a talk on CEA accreditation at the October conference of the Chinese Education Association for International Education (CEAIE) in Beijing, where she also visited four university programs. In May 2011, she will give a presentation about CEA accreditation to representatives from 12 Turkish universities.