Centennial Newsletter - January 2012





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Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year! This month marks the beginning of our Centennial year, celebrating 100 years of assuring the quality and integrity of education students need to succeed in the workplace. We have witnessed a significant evolution in workforce development over the last century, and graduates of ACICS-accredited colleges and schools are critical to sustaining the nation’s economic competitiveness.

ACICS remains focused on the quality of workforce education that will prepare employees for success in today’s challenging economy. Building on last month’s Workforce Skills Reality Check panel discussion, the year-long Centennial celebration will engage students, schools, and communities as we mark this milestone in accreditation history. Each month, we will highlight Stories of the Centennial, including graduates who are making contributions to their community. This month, we’ve profiled the story of Raushandah White, a Certified Medical Assistant and mother of three from Fort Campbell, KY.

Thank you to all ACICS schools, faculty and peer evaluators for continuing to deliver excellence in post-secondary education.

We look forward to an exciting year!

Jill A. DeAtley, Chair, Centennial Committee
Albert C. Gray, Executive Director and CEO

Centennial Poster Competition Winners

In celebration of ACICS’ 100 years of providing excellence in education, students of ACICS-accredited colleges and schools were invited to submit designs for the agency’s commemorative Centennial poster competition. More than 80 entries were submitted from students across the nation.

We are pleased to announce the first, second, and third place winners:

First Place: Clayton Stewart – Westwood College, Houston South Campus (Houston, TX)

“100 Years – Making the Transition Between Education and the Workforce”

Clayton Stewart, a student enrolled in the Visual Communications program at Westwood College’s Houston South Campus, has won the ACICS Centennial poster competition with his design, “100 Years of Quality: Making the Transition from Education to the Workforce.” The 21-year-old full-time student will finish his bachelor’s degree at Westwood in 2012.

To create the poster, Stewart used Adobe Illustrator, a digital program he learned in his classes at Westwood College. His preferred design software packages are Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. “A lot of what I learned in my illustrator class helped me to draw the figures, and a design layout class also helped me learn about composition, making the artwork centered,” Stewart said.

Click here to learn more about Clayton’s story and the inspiration for his winning design.


Second Place: Michael Fitzgerald – Anthem Institute (Springfield, PA)

“Road to Transition”

Michael Fitzgerald, runner-up in the competition, said he never thought he would finish in the top three. He is 25 years old and is studying full-time toward a certificate in Graphic Design at Anthem Institute. Fitzgerald’s coursework includes typography, fundamentals of design, foundation and drawing, color theory, and computer courses. He holds a B.A. from Temple University and has studied brand design and brand development.

In describing his design, Fitzgerald said “everyone in the class was focusing on the 100 years, but I thought the quality education part was more important. I wanted to show graduates looking into the future. I left the right-top of the picture blank, because you don’t know what is out there.”

Click here to learn more about Michael’s story and the inspiration for his winning design.


Third Place: Raul Pastor Lopez – John Dewey College (Hato Rey, Puerto Rico)

“Workforce iPad: ACICS Edition”

Third place was awarded to Raul A. Lopez, a 22-year-old first generation full-time student at John Dewey College in Puerto Rico. He is working to earn an associate’s degree in graphic arts.

Lopez’s poster design was inspired by Steve Jobs and the iPad, and the icons on the tablet represent career programs at ACICS-accredited institutions. He created the poster with Adobe Illustrator, a program he learned to use in his classes at John Dewey College. Lopez said he always liked design as a child. He was raised by his aunt who is a designer and was a key influence on his development as an artist.

Click here to learn more about Raul’s story and the inspiration for his winning design.

Student Success Initiative: Online Public Forum

Are students in each program assured a quality education? Are employers getting the skill levels they require from recent graduates? Are faculty enabling students to learn outside-of-class as well as through lectures, labs and externships?

As part of the Student Success Initiative, ACICS will be hosting an online public forum on January 13 at 2:00 p.m. (EST). Students, faculty, administrators and future employers are invited to participate in order to discuss how we can work together to improve career education success. This collaborative exchange will be led by members of ACICS’ leadership team who will highlight new requirements for accreditation and conclude with a question and answer portion for students, faculty, and other participants.

The forum will be divided into two sessions:

  • Session 1: Standards of Student Achievement
    The discussion will focus on:
    • New standards of student achievement, including a focus on the retention, placement, and licensure pass rates that are required for ACICS’ approval of career education programs.
    • How ACICS will evaluate student achievement in each program and review faculty plans to ensure all students graduate with the skills and knowledge they need to succeed in the workplace.
  • Session 2: New Homework Requirements
    The discussion will focus on:
    • New requirements for student homework with every lecture class, which are necessary for schools to award federal financial aid for credit hour courses.
    • How student homework assignments will be reviewed by ACICS evaluators, and what administrators, faculty and students can do to meet this new requirement.

Learn more about the online public forum and register here.

Centennial Student Spotlight

Raushandah White: A Better Tomorrow is Only a Step Away

As an Army wife and mother of three, Raushandah White was committed to providing for her family’s future. Her mantra: “Work hard, stay focused, and remember the career opportunities that lie ahead. A better tomorrow is only a step away.”

Today, she’s a double-graduate in the programs of Medical Assistant and Medical Billing & Coding from Brown Mackie College-Hopkinsville. The Kentucky-based school has been accredited by ACICS since 2003. “The small classes made learning a lot easier and the instructors were extremely helpful. Plus, the hours fit in perfectly in my schedule because I had small children at home,” she said.

Through hard work and focus, Raushandah turned her student volunteer position at the Blanchfield Army Community Hospital into a paid position as a Certified Medical Assistant in the hospital’s Young Eagles Clinic. There, she provides medical care using the nursing processes (assess, plan, implement, and evaluate), and works with patients of all ages to identify and monitor vital signs and other medical care needs.

Read more Stories of the Centennial at ACICS.org.

Closing the Gap Between Career Education & Employer Expectations

In a recently released white paper, Closing the Gap Between Career Education & Employer Expectations, ACICS Director of External Affairs, Anthony Bieda, examined the current employment environment and access to educational opportunities on the quality, relevance and content of employment.


  • By 2018, it is estimated that the U.S. economy will fall short of adequately educated workers by 4.7 million.
  • For the past 20 years, potential employees usually have not had the necessary skills to meet expectations, in spite of rising levels of educational attainment in the U.S. and a relative high level of job openings.
  • Within the career education sector, institutions wish to demonstrate they are providing educational opportunities pertaining to skills acquisition that leads to employment.
  • Accreditors need to enforce expectations and better align employment outcomes and workforce development to post-secondary education infrastructure.


A Snapshot of ACICS History – Post World War II

The 1950s brought unprecedented growth in higher education. The GI Bill created new opportunity for students, serving as an important tool in enabling millions of veterans to attend college and finish vocational training. Many took advantage of the private career schools that were offering new focused programs and occupational skills development.

To enhance their mission, the National Association of Accredited Commercial Schools (NAACS) and the National Council of Business Schools (NCBS) consolidated, and began working on general requirements for entrance in private career schools, catalogs and minimum degree requirements. This led to the establishment of the early drafts of the ACICS Accreditation Criteria, which is still used today.

The most popular programs among students of the decade included business administration, secretarial skills, and data processing. View the ACICS timeline to learn more about our 100-year history as a national accreditor.

Recognizing Our Founding Association Members

Just as our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence in 1776, the organization which is known today as ACICS was also led by its founding institutions. Today, five schools which were part of the original group of signatories who established the organization on December 12, 1912 – along with founder Benjamin Franklin Williams – remain part of the organization. These schools include:

  • Erie Business Center – Erie, PA (formerly Erie Business College)
  • Everest Institute – Pittsburgh, PA (formerly Duff’s Business Institute)
  • Miami-Jacobs Career College – Dayton, OH (formed with the merger of Jacobs Career College and Miami Commercial School)
  • Minneapolis Business College – Roseville, MN
  • Spencerian College – Louisville, KY (formerly Spencerian Commercial School)

Do You Have a Story to Tell?

Click here to submit a student story from your school for a chance to be featured on ACICS.org or in a future edition of the Centennial newsletter.