Business Commentary for Rational Individuals

Higher-Ed Accreditation is Under Fire

Dr. Bill Belew

Issue III - June 22, 2006

Introduction by Mr. Stolyarov: This article by Dr. Belew implies that technological progress is rendering older school accreditation criteria obsolete; some resources like classroom space are becoming less relevant, while others like innovation and financial stability are becoming far more important. The for-profit educational institutions would fare better under newer criteria, because financial stability (along with money-making) is one of their foremost aims.

Higher-ed accreditation practice does not have the trust it once had. Just because a school is accredited, it no longer means that the school can be relied on to deliver quality education.

How many full-timers are there? It doesn't matter as much because they are not available.

How many books are there in the library? It doesn't matter any more, because nearly all resources needed are now online.

How much classroom space is there? It doesn't matter anymore, because students are taking classes online.

How stable is the school financially? It matters a lot, because schools ought not be allowed to operate if they will close up shop before their students finish their courses.

Schools must be held accountable for

1. Institutional performance - does the school deliver the product it advertises?

2. Student learning outcomes - can the student do what he was taught?

3. Transparency - in accounting and budgetary matters

4. Innovation - is the school meeting or planning to meet the needs of the changing potential student population?

Accreditation criteria need to be reexamined....times have changed.

What do you think?


Dr. Bill Belew is a former Intelligence Officer for a Destroyer Squadron. He lived 20 years in Japan, where he started a language school for Japanese ECS. Dr. Belew teaches classes for a vocational school and online for a national university.

See Dr. Belew's blog, PanAsianBiz, for news and discussions about business and current events in Russia and Asia. See ZhongHuaRising for Dr. Belew's reports on business in China, RisingSunofNihon on business in Japan, and TheBizofKnowledge on business education.

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