Innovation and business stakeholders may have a bigger piece of the higher education accreditation pie in the near future. Pressure to change accreditation standards is brewing and there are a few good things in the proposal that are helpful. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is discussing experimenting with accreditation to ensure that innovation isn't stifled in the process of ensuring quality. According to the accreditation proposal .....
"This negotiated rulemaking effort is designed to modify the regulations that pertain to accreditor
recognition in order to provide accreditors, and the institutions they accredit, with greater latitude to
innovate; to create healthy competition among institutions and accreditors; to provide agencies with
increased independence in their recognition and oversight responsibilities; and to reduce unnecessary
regulatory burden and oversight redundancies."
Read the summary https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5676150-Accreditation-proposal-summary.html
Read the full proposal https://www.documentcloud.org/documents/5676149-Accreditation-proposal.html
We know that education is very expensive and we need a mobile workforce that continues to learn throughout their lives. I'm in love with traditional schools but education is a process of learning and can better serve life-long workers by having more flexible learning models. That requires thinking new ways of managing and delivering education.
While accreditation is important for maintaining standards it can at times slow down the process of change. A nation that seeks to compete should consider opening experimenting with new models and ideas. We have seen reluctance to accept online education a few decades ago and now find nearly every university have some form of it.
Innovation: Innovation requires building off of previous ideas and creating something new. There is a level of experimentation that occurs and this may not fit well within many accreditation bodies. Many accreditation bodies have come to adjust their processes to accept online universities but it is still slow in coming. What is the next step beyond today's online learning?
Employer Engagement: Employers should have a say in the type of skills learned during the education process. Ultimately graduates will need to find jobs and employers have something to say about what type of skills they need. It would be wise to listen and adjust to ensure this important stakeholder is given their due.