The Importance of Accreditation
As an accredited university, all of the degrees and certificates awarded by Westcliff University are accredited. So as to ensure the highest possible academic standards, these programs have been through an intensive and careful evaluation process by a national outside examining committee, and by competent subject matter specialists.
Accreditation is an assurance to the student that the school has qualified professors, offers approved programs of study, has adequate equipment and technology, operates on a sound financial basis, and utilizes approved recruitment and admission policies.
Accreditation is an assurance of quality. In the field of education, an accredited university must verify that its programs and administrative processes meet standards established by the U. S. Department of Education and regulated by approved accrediting agencies. The Department of Education states that beyond an assurance of quality, two major functions of accreditation are “assisting prospective students in identifying acceptable institutions” and “assisting institutions in determining the acceptability of transfer credits.”
The Significance of Accreditation
Attending an accredited institution of higher learning ensures that the educational programs and outcomes offered meet the highest standards. Institutions seek accreditation as a means to validate the quality of the programs and services they provide. Accredited universities maintain a high level of transparency in their operations and offer learners a diverse array of student services that protect student rights, advance student success, and result in well educated, qualified graduates.
You can be sure that Westcliff University, as accredited by DEAC, adheres to the highest standards and is dedicated to constant institutional improvement.
The Process of Accreditation
Accreditation is the process of giving public recognition to institutions which meet specific standards.
Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. The standards for accreditation are set by a peer review board whose members include faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. The board aids in the evaluation of each potential new school accreditation or the renewals of previously accredited colleges/schools.
The external review is the hallmark of the accreditation process. It energizes and equips the leadership and stakeholders of an institution or school system to tackle those areas that may be thwarting desired performance levels.
Accreditation is inextricably linked to institutional and educational system improvement. The accreditation process requires institutions of higher education to evaluate critically their vision, strategies, priorities, leadership, and programs and resources. The process of earning and maintaining accreditation provides institutions and educational systems with clear and compelling direction for implementing changes to move toward excellence.
The accreditation process is also known in terms of its ability to drive effectively student performance and continuous improvement in education.
While accreditation is normally a set of rigorous protocols and research-based processes for evaluating an institution’s organizational effectiveness, it is also far more than that. Today the accreditation process examines the whole institution—the programs, the cultural context, the community of stakeholders—to determine how well the parts work together to meet the needs of students.
Accreditation is both a significant achievement pronouncing Westcliff’s quality of education, as well as a remarkably enriching process for Westcliff University in recognizing the tremendous competitive and performance gains it affords.
According to the Department of Education, “the goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality” (p. 1). While the Department of Education “does not accredit educational institutions and/or programs…the Secretary of Education is required by law to publish a list of nationally recognized accrediting agencies that the Secretary determines to be reliable authorities as to the quality of education or training provided by the institutions of higher education and the higher education programs they accredit.” The accrediting agencies approved by the Secretary of Education “are private educational associations of regional or national scope” that “develop evaluation criteria and conduct peer evaluations to assess whether or not those criteria are met.”
It is the responsibility of these accrediting agencies, such as DEAC, to “conduct a continuous review of standards, policies, procedures, and issues in the area of the Department of Education’s interests and responsibilities relative to accreditation” and ensure that these standards are maintained by institutions accredited by that agency. Institutions accredited by the accrediting agencies must verify that their programs meet established standards and that their ongoing assessments are geared toward continuous improvement. Accredited institutions must demonstrate an adherence to the established standards and a dedication to continuous improvement during the periodic re-evaluation process.