Cynthia Jackson-Hammond Named President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation

May 28, 2020

For Immediate Release

Tim Willard
([email protected])                                                                                         


Washington, DC – Dr. Cynthia Jackson-Hammond has been named the new President of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the CHEA Board of Directors announced today. She was elected by a unanimous vote of the CHEA board following an extensive presidential search. She will begin as CHEA’s President on August 1, 2020.

“The CHEA Board of Directors reached out to many leaders in higher education to fill this position,” said Board Chair Orlando L. Taylor. “We knew we needed extraordinary leadership to continue the remarkable record of Dr. Judith Eaton, the founding president of CHEA, and Cynthia Jackson-Hammond stood out among the array of gifted candidates we considered. She brings an incredible wealth of knowledge and experience relative to accreditation and quality assurance, as well as a strong background and history in effectively networking and interacting with higher education leaders, governmental officials and legislators.”

"I am pleased to serve as president of CHEA and look forward to continuing advocacy of accreditation, member institutions and the work of all recognized accrediting organizations,” Dr. Jackson-Hammond stated.

Dr. Jackson-Hammond is retiring as President of Central State University in Ohio on June 30, 2020. She became the historically black university’s first female President on July 1, 2012. As President, she led efforts to develop Six Compelling Priorities, which have since guided the university. The Compelling Priorities are: provide a quality academic/collegiate experience for all students; focus on targeting student enrollment; improve retention rates; reduce time to degree completion; development of graduates with the knowledge, skills and dispositions for advanced studies and professional careers; and increase efficient and effective institutional operations. The tenets used to rebrand the university are Service …Protocol … Civility, now a registered trademark for Central State University. New, focused mission, vision and strategic plans also were developed for the university.

During her tenure at Central State University, she successfully navigated the university to land grant status, led the institution to a 10-year Higher Learning Commission reaffirmation of accreditation (plus numerous other disciplinary accreditations) and most recently, led the campus community in preparing a strategic response to the COVID-19 pandemic fallout. She is known to be a collaborative leader who knows how to strategically and successfully address challenging situations.

Dr. Jackson-Hammond’s higher education experience spans more than 30 years and includes faculty status and tenured professorships, in addition to senior administrative leadership positions. She recently served on the boards of the Thurgood Marshall College Foundation, the 1890 Land-Grant Council of Presidents and the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Executive Committee.

She received her Bachelor’s degree from Grambling State University, Master’s degree in Education from the University of Louisiana in Monroe and her Doctorate in Education from Grambling State University.

“I am thrilled that Cynthia will be taking the helm at CHEA,” said outgoing CHEA President Judith Eaton. “Cynthia is the best. She is a seasoned executive, with years of experience and a depth of understanding of effective leadership in higher education that will be of enormous value and move CHEA forward. These are challenging times and the board of directors has chosen a president who will not only lead but prevail and who brings to the position a love of higher education and a heartfelt understanding and commitment to the vital role of quality in higher education in our society.”


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