ERIC Number: ED446534
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000
Reference Count: N/A
Core Academic Values, Quality, and Regional Accreditation: The Challenge of Distance Learning.
Eaton, Judith S.
This paper discusses regional accreditation, a common form of institutional quality assurance, noting its application to distance education. Six core academic values sustain regional accreditation: institutional autonomy; collegiality and shared governance; faculty intellectual and academic authority; the degree; general education; and site-based education and a community of learning. Regional accreditation identifies these core values with institutional quality. Several regional accrediting commissions have addressed distance learning by accommodating distance learning initiatives within existing accrediting standards and developing distance learning guidelines for institutions. As currently configured, regional accreditation standards and the distance education guidelines tend to focus on similarities between site-based and distance education, which diverts attention from challenges that distance learning poses to each core academic value of accreditation. This paper examines challenges posed by distance learning to each of the six core values, offering a transitional framework for rethinking values and accreditation standards in response to each challenge. The framework highlights differences between distance and site-based learning. It calls for the recalibration of capacity and process standards to reflect the changing role of time and place in higher education delivery. However, it does not address the growing need for accreditors to pay additional attention to educational consequences. (SM)
Descriptors: Academic Standards, Accreditation (Institutions), College Faculty, Collegiality, Computer Uses in Education, Degrees (Academic), Distance Education, Educational Quality, General Education, Governance, Higher Education, Institutional Autonomy, Quality Control, Values
Council for Higher Education Accreditation, One Dupont Circle, Suite 510, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 202-955-6126; Fax: 202-955-6129; E-mail: email@example.com. For full text: http://www.chea.org.
Publication Type: Guides - Non-Classroom; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Washington, DC.