AAC&U leader calls for consensus on defining 'quality learning'

Dive Brief:

  • Association of American Colleges & Universities President Carol Geary Schneider published a statement this week urging members and their accrediting bodies to get ahead of politicians so monetary ROI isn’t the only student outcomes focus tied into accreditation reform.
  • Schneider wants regional accreditors to come together and develop shared learning outcomes for students that she says most colleges and universities have already defined for themselves but have kept private, leaving the public to think they don’t exist.
  • Inside Higher Ed reports that the president of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges’ Commission on Institutions in Higher Education is skeptical of consensus among the nation’s diverse and independent schools, as well as the likelihood politicians will back off economic ROI proposals  whether higher education institutions develop their own set of learning outcomes or not.

Dive Insight:

In her statement, Schneider says “almost no one” thinks accreditation “is what it should be.” She joins a chorus of would-be reformers, including outgoing U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, who says the accreditors have been too lax on poor performers, and Sen. Marco Rubio, who says accreditors favor traditional modes of learning and stifle innovation. Politicians have certainly seemed to coalesce around accountability measures that compare schools based on the earning and debt levels of their graduates. Even if consensus among higher education institutions about quality learning measures does not hijack this conversation entirely, it could at least broaden the discussion.

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Filed Under: Higher Ed Policy & Regulation