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The History and Role of Accrediting in Higher Education

William K. Selden, LL.D.
JAMA. 1962;181(7):613-615. doi:10.1001/jama.1962.03050330043009.
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THE EDUCATION NUMBER of The Journalof the American Medical Association dated Nov. 11, 1961, contains a short historical section which has particular relevance to the subject of this afternoon's discussions. Even though most of you are familiar with its contents I wish to quote from this report because of the dramatic way in which medical education exemplifies the history of higher education in the United States.

The report states:

It is eminently clear that this history (of medical education) cannot be ignored for most of it is of a nature that would be disastrous to repeat.... During the course of the nation's history, 444 medical schools were organized and of these only 86 or 20% are in existence today. Up to the end of the last century, 357 schools had been organized and 165 of them were in operation as the century came to a close. Our system of


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