Council for Higher
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February 3, 2008
Contact: Timothy Willard
(202) 955-6126

CHEA Annual Conference Hosts Representatives From U.S. and International Education Institutions, Higher Education Associations, Accrediting Organizations and Government

(Washington, DC) – Nearly 300 representatives from U.S. and international higher education institutions, higher education associations, accrediting organizations, government and the public converged on Washington, D.C. to attend the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2009 Annual Conference.

The conference, which took place January 26-29, also featured the Second National Accreditation Forum and was followed by the CHEA International Seminar. Presenters and participants from more than 30 countries in North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia took part in the program.

Highlights of the CHEA Annual Conference, the Second National Accreditation Forum and the CHEA International Seminar included:

  • An address by Christopher Nelson, President of St. John’s College, on expectations of a new administration, as well as the importance of accreditation, self-study and peer review.
  • Remarks by Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY), who discussed accreditation and the Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008 and promised Congressional oversight of the legislation’s implementation process.
  • A discussion of the federal government’s relationship to higher education accreditation, by Matthew Finkin, who holds the Albert J. Harno and Edward W. Cleary Chair in Law at the University of Illinois College of Law.
  • A presentation by Robert Dickeson, President Emeritus of the University of Northern Colorado, on how the existing accreditation– federal government relationship might be recalibrated and on the importance of the CHEA Initiative.
  • An examination by Stanley Ikenberry, President Emeritus and Regent Professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, of possible future directions for accreditation, peer review and self-regulation.
  • A look by Patrick Callan, President of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education, at strengthening higher education and accreditation through greater investment in accountability.
  • A media insider’s view of federal policy and the first 100 days of the Obama White House and the new Congress, delivered by John Mercurio, Executive Editor of The Hotline of the National Journal.
  • A panel discussion of progress that has been made on student learning outcomes, featuring Peter Ewell, Vice President of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems; John Dill, Deputy Chancellor for Education and Professional Development for the U.S. Department of Defense; Leigh Onimus, Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Assessment and Special Projects for Seton Hall University’s Stillman School of Business; and Thomas Pusateri, Associate Director for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning at Kennesaw State University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.
  • A discussion of emerging quality assurance practices around the world and the impact they may have on U.S. accreditation, by Carolyn Campbell, Assistant Director of the United Kingdom’s Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education.
  • A look at the key trends and challenges for quality assurance in Europe, featuring remarks by Andrée Sursock, Deputy Secretary General of the European University Association; and Luc Weber, Professor of Public Economics and Rector Emeritus at the University of Geneva.
  • A presentation on combating degree mills internationally, including the ongoing collaboration by CHEA and UNESCO on a statement of effective practice for assisting the international community in confronting degree mills, with remarks by John Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer of the Commonwealth of Learning; and Stamenka Uvalic-Trumbic, Chief of UNESCO’s Section for Reform, Innovation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
  • Remarks on higher education quality assurance in Africa, by Peter Okebukola, President of the Global University Network for Innovation (GUNI-Africa) and former Executive Secretary of Nigeria’s National Universities Commission.
  • A review of quality assurance in the Arab Region, by Nadia Badwari, Professor with the Arab Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education.
  • An examination by higher education consultant Richard Lewis of Qualifications Frameworks to strengthen quality and enhance student mobility.
  • A discussion of higher education and quality assurance in Ireland, as well as ways the United States and Ireland have been working together on these and other accreditation-related issues, featuring A. Lee Fritschler, Professor with the School of Public Policy at George Mason University; Tom Boland, Chief Executive Officer of the Irish Higher Education Authority; and Padraig Walsh, Chief Executive of the Irish Universities Quality Board.

The CHEA 2009 Annual Conference also featured the presentation of the 2009 CHEA Award for Institutional Progress in Student Learning Outcomes to Delaware Technical & Community College and Northern Arizona University.

"The active participation of leaders from U.S. and international government bodies, higher education institutions, the accreditation community and the public made the 2009 Annual Conference, the Second National Accreditation Forum and the CHEA International Seminar a true success," said CHEA President Judith Eaton. "The important discussion of accreditation’s future, which is the core of the CHEA Initiative, was continued. Ways to combat degree mills and CHEA’s strong efforts to work with governments in the United States and internationally on effective practices were addressed. Quality assurance efforts in nations around the world were examined. Participants exchanged valuable information on ways to further strengthen accreditation and enhance public understanding of its value. CHEA applauds all those who participated for the knowledge they brought to the meeting and for sharing their ideas and insights."

The dates and location of the 2010 CHEA Annual Conference will be announced this Spring.

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A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. For more information, visit CHEA’s Website at

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