The Role of ACICS Commissioners

 Photo: ACICS Commissioners 
Current and former ACICS Commissioners, including representatives of the public and those from member institutions, at the ACICS Centennial celebration, November 2012. (For more information about the history and composition of the Council, visit the online Historic Archives).  


Trusted and Valued Leaders    
ACICS Commissioners are accomplished academics and administrators who have spent most of their careers in the field of postsecondary education. Nominated or appointed to the Council by their peers, commissioners have earned the trust and confidence of students, educators, and faculty over the course of multiple decades of work. Selection by their peers reflects that their opinions are highly regarded and respected, and that they are valued as leaders in higher education.  

Candidates for commissioner are vetted by ACICS' nominating committee, which reviews each candidate's qualifications, professional history, institutional affiliations, and other factors, including school and program performance. 


Committed to Student Protections
ACICS' Commissioners donate substantial time to their role, serving as unpaid volunteers. Each commissioner must devote a minimum of five weeks a year to participate in the accreditation review and policy-making processes. Commissioners are eager to serve, and take their responsibility very seriously. They recognize that their decisions can have a significant impact on students and institutions, and that they have an obligation to ensure student protections and instill public trust. It is in this spirit that they fulfill the obligations of:

  • Reviewing member institutions and programs; and
  • Shaping education standards, policies and expectations that preserve student value and contribute to public confidence in higher education.


Strong Standards of Ethical Responsibility  
Before serving as an ACICS Commissioner, he/she is required to participate in training regarding the avoidance of conflicts of interest, and to sign a statement committing to meeting or exceeding ACICS' Standards of Ethical Responsibility, which provide clear requirements to avoid even the appearance of impropriety, partiality, and actual or potential conflict of interest.

ACICS has established risk management protocols to ensure any appearance or actual conflict of interest is disclosed, reviewed and eliminated from the evaluation, policymaking and decision-making processes.

If it is determined that a commissioner has violated one of the standards, he/she may be removed by a vote of the full Council. In all instances where a violation is found, the Council is required to take such action as necessary in order to maintain the integrity of ACICS.


Represent Higher Education Market  
ACICS' Commissioners represent the diverse segments of the higher education market including public, private nonprofit, career, and independent colleges. Out of the 15-member commission, at least three commissioners are required to represent the public. Since 2010, on average the Council has had at least four representatives of the public present at every meeting, participating in every policy and accreditation decision.

Accreditation is a formal process of peers holding peers accountable for standards of quality and integrity, based on widely help assumption and practice that nobody is better suited to evaluate quality and integrity of post-secondary education than expert practitioners of post-secondary education.