Analytic Quality Glossary
Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International, http://www.qualityresearchinternational.com/glossary/
This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.
Institutional accreditational accreditation
Institutional accreditation provides a licence for a university or college to operate.
Institutional accreditation operates mainly in areas where there is a mixture of public and private higher education provision.
For Vlãsceanu, et al., (2004, p. 20):
The terms refer to the accreditation of the whole institution, including all its programmes, sites, and methods of delivery, without any implication as to the quality of the study programmes of the institution.
Institutional accreditation effectively provides a licence to operate. It is usually based on an evaluation of whether the institution meets specified minimum (input) standards such as staff qualifications, research activities, student intake and learning resources. It might also be based on an estimation of the potential for the institution to produce graduates that meet explicit or implicit academic standard or professional competence.
Institutional accreditation or re-accreditation, in Europe for example, is usually undertaken by national bodies either government departments or government-initiated agencies that make formal judgements on recognition. In some countries, with a total or preponderant public sector higher education system, there is little need for institutional accreditation, per se, but there is a growing need for a mechanism to validate ‘upgrading’ of non-university higher education institution (such as colleges, polytechnics, Fachhochschule) to university status, as has happened, for example, in the UK and Sweden.
In the United States, with a large private sector, accreditation is a self-regulatory process of recognition of institutional viability by non-governmental voluntary associations.
As CHEA notes, in some countries (such as
Accreditation [in the
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (2017) states:
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is a process of peer review that the educational community has adopted for its self-regulation since early in the 20th century. It is a voluntary process intended to strengthen and sustain the quality and integrity of higher education, making it worthy of public confidence. Institutions choose to apply for accredited status, and once accredited, they agree to abide by the standards of their accrediting organization and to regulate themselves by taking responsibility for their own improvement.
Types of Accreditors
In the United States, accreditors are non-governmental, private, non-profit organizations, and most accredit both private and public institutions. There are three types of accreditors:
Regional accreditors operate within specific geographic areas. The United States is divided into six regions, each with its own regional accrediting association, and the work of these associations is accomplished by seven commissions. The regional accreditors together are responsible for over 3,000 colleges and universities.
Specialized accreditors are not limited to specific geographic areas, but they review particular programs within institutions that are also accredited by an institutional accreditor, such as programs in architecture, engineering, optometry, and pharmacy. A single institution may have multiple programs accredited by specialized accreditors.
National accreditors are not limited to specific geographic areas. They also accredit entire institutions, but they are more likely to review particular types of institutions, such as those that specialize exclusively in law, medicine, nursing, distance learning, and theology.
As a regional accreditor, the Middle States Commission on Higher Education examines the entire institution, including its educational programs and curricula, student achievement, faculty, facilities and equipment, student support services, recruiting and admissions practices, the institutionís financial condition, administrative effectiveness, governing boards, and several other aspects of the institution.
Universities in the USA and Canada (2012) states:
Institutional accreditation covers the whole university and is the primary type of official university recognition in North America. Accreditation is granted by organizations that cover different geographic regions.
Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2001, Glossary of Key Terms in Quality Assurance and Accreditation http://www.chea.org/international/inter_glossary01.html, last updated 23 October 2002, accessed 18 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), 2003, Frequently Asked Questions: What is accreditation? http://www.msche.org/?Nav1=About&Nav2=FAQ&Nav3=Question01
Middle States Commission on Higher Education, 2017, Frequently Asked Questions, available at http://www.msche.org/?Nav1=About&Nav2=FAQ&Nav3=Question01, accessed 3 January 2017, not available 26 June 2019.
Universities in the USA and Canada, 2012, Accreditation of Canadian and US universities, available at http://www.universitiesintheusa.com/university-accreditation.html, accessed 1 September 2012, still available 20 June 2019.
Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2007, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (
copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021
copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021