ACE’s National Task Force on Institutional Accreditation released a report in June 2012, urging the higher education community to strengthen and improve the quality and public accountability of the institutional accreditation process.
The report, Assuring Academic Quality in the 21st Century: Self-Regulation in a New Era, considers the central characteristics of accreditation and outlines common criticisms of the process. It then offers six major recommendations for steps colleges, universities and regional accreditors can and should take to ensure accreditation meets its public accountability responsibilities given the enormous diversity of American higher education.
The recommendations are:
- Increase the transparency of accreditation and clearly communicate its results.
Increase the centrality of evidence about student success and educational quality.
Take prompt, strong and public action against substandard institutions.
Adopt a more "risk-sensitive" approach to regional accreditation.
Seek common terminology, promote cooperation and expand participation.
Enhance the cost-effectiveness of accreditation.
The task force, supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, was co-chaired by University of Richmond (VA) President Edward Ayers and Association of American Universities President Emeritus Robert Berdahl. Members included presidents and chancellors from public and private, nonprofit and for-profit, two-year and four-year institutions, along with accrediting agency officials and other experts.