(Washington, D.C.) – The Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB) and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) today announced the release of a joint advisory statement on accreditation and governing boards. The advisory statement is designed to highlight “the importance of engaging governing boards in the accreditation process,” according to AGB and CHEA.
“This advisory statement underscores the mutual benefit that can emerge from governing boards engaging accreditation, and accreditation engaging governing boards,” said CHEA President Judith Eaton. “Everybody gains when governing boards actively participate in the accreditation process.”
The AGB-CHEA advisory statement offers suggestions for effective practice to governing boards and chief executive officers of higher education institutions as they work with accrediting organizations.
“Just as accountability for quality is central to the fiduciary responsibility of governing boards, accrediting organizations are considered by the academic community to be central to assuring the quality of a college or university,” said AGB President Rick Legon. “This advisory moves the conversation forward to achieving an appropriate level of board engagement in the critical process that is accreditation.”
Suggestions for action to more fully engage governing boards in the accreditation process include:
- Establish an ongoing orientation or accreditation education program for board members.
- Review key elements of the accreditation self-study, the visiting accreditation team’s report, and formal actions and decision letters from the accrediting organization and consider their implications for the institution’s strategic goals, mission and resources.
- Develop, with the leadership of the chief executive officer, a plan for ongoing governing board involvement in accreditation review.
- Establish clear expectations of the board chair to work with the president on the accreditation process.
- Assure faculty participation in the accreditation process.
- Become aware of the public policy role of accreditation and its relationship with federal and state government and how this affects an institution or program.
- For system boards, understand the accreditation process of constituent institutions.
- Familiarize the board with the standards of accrediting organizations that apply to board governance and of actions that may be required to address them.
Suggestions for actions by chief executive officers of higher education institutions include:
- Engage the board in a periodic review of the various accreditations held by the institution.
- Prepare strategies, with board leadership, for board engagement in pending accreditation processes.
- Inform the board about specific expectations related to governance that will be evaluated in upcoming accreditation reviews.
- With the chair, ensure that board agendas include relevant issues for board consideration resulting from accreditation reports.
- Provide leadership and participate in orientation programs for new and current board members on issues related to accreditation.
- Work to more fully engage faculty in accreditation.
The advisory statement is not intended to be prescriptive; it is left to chief executive officers and governing boards to determine if and how the suggested practices are of value to and can be used by their individual institutions.
A full copy of the AGB-CHEA joint advisory statement can be found on the CHEA Website or on AGB’s Website at www.agb.org.
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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 www.chea.org.