Harnessing Technology to Expedite Accreditation
The new, interactive web-based technology platform for member institutions went on-line July 1, following a live demonstration at the Annual Meeting. The utility and functionality of the new system includes the ability of institution to complete and submit applications for initial and new grants of accreditation electronically. Through features soon to be added, the system will also enable institutions to monitor the status of their accreditation requests, and review their account information through a secured portal. Last month, several hundred member institutions whose grants expire in 2010 participated in a webinar on electronic submission of the self-study. A second webinar on revisions to the Accreditation Criteria is planned for September. Watch for updates regarding future webinars for member institutions at www.acics.org.
Interest in ACICS Reflected in Attendance at Annual Conference
More than 280 owners, administrators and faculty members from ACICS accredited institutions participated in the 2009 Annual Meeting & Leadership Conference this past June in Orlando. The participation was the largest registration ever, reflecting ACICS’ growth to more than 760 institutions in 46 states and 10 countries. Highlights of the conference included a luncheon awards ceremony recognizing 45 Honor Roll Institutions (see complete list at www.acics.org, “News and Latest Updates.”) and the top three volunteer evaluators of 2008, Terry Campbell, Rogena Kyles and Joyce Strout. Member institutions also elected two new members of the council, Mary Hale Barry of Kaplan Higher Education and Edwin M. Colon of Pinnacle Career Institute. Their service on the Council begins January 2010.
Respiratory, Radiologic specialties revise policies – Communications between ACICS and the specialized accrediting bodies for respiratory care (CoARC) and radiology technologists (ARRT) have contributed to some important revisions to proposed policies that would have precluded graduates from nationally accredited institutions from eligibility for professional credentials in those two specialty areas. In both cases, the governing boards have revised language in a manner that provides access by students from ACICS institutions to examination and licensure, and published the revisions for public comment. ACICS encourages all member institutions to pursue specialized accreditation for those programs for which programmatic accreditation is available.
New Round of Negotiated Rulemaking
Accredited institutions may gain more clarity regarding the manner in which the U.S. Department of Education interprets and applies the reauthorized Higher Education Act (PL 110-315). ACICS participated in public hearings and provided written guidance to the department (Letter to Secretary Duncan, 6.22.09) regarding topics proposed for a second round of negotiated rulemaking derived from the 2008 congressional act. Formal rulemaking committees are anticipated to convene this fall to develop revisions to regulations pertaining to standards for placement in field, satisfactory academic progress and policies for institutions operating in states that lack a licensing or regulatory authority. The first round of negotiated rulemaking ended in mid-May. Of key interest to ACICS institutions are proposed regulations that fortify the statutory requirements of all accredited institutions to have and make public transfer of credit policies, including the criteria by which credits earned at another institution are accepted or rejected. Another important proposed regulation requires accreditors to monitor significant enrollment growth according to more detailed, prescribed methods. Final regulations will be published in the Federal Register by November 1, 2009 in order to become effective by July 1, 2010.
Enhancing & Defending the ACICS Brand
ACICS has selected Washington, D.C.-based ‘FD Public Affairs’ to assist in telling the ACICS story more effectively. Impetus for the strategic communications initiative came from the Council and member institutions, seeking a higher profile and greater value from the accreditation investment. Following a period of research with key audiences and organizations, the initiative will develop and begin sharing a new narrative about the history, strength and value of ACICS accreditation, as reflected in the quality of member institutions.
Workshop Slots Available
ACICS has enrollment openings for workshops at the offices in Washington, D.C. They are “Evaluator Training Workshop,” September 4; “Deferral Workshop,” Sept. 10; and “Accreditation Workshop,” October 29. Go to www.acics.org for more information or to register. Volunteer site visit teams strengthen ACICS accreditation; member institutions are encouraged to provide qualified evaluators for the peer review process. Interested and qualified members should submit their resumes to Susan Greer at email@example.com.