FROM a national perspective, the past 2 years have been an unsettling time in higher education accreditation, both for accrediting bodies and for educational institutions. Tensions generated by groups critical of current accreditation practices have been exacerbated by a general climate of dissatisfaction with higher education, expressed by members of the public who invest in education and by elected officials seeking greater accountability. The expectations for higher education have effected major upheavals in accreditation systems, higher education, and other associations and groups involved in accrediting activities. These upheavals compelled swift and positive action and energized the accrediting community to examine the effectiveness of its system.
Since 1991, when the Advisory Committee on Accreditation and Institutional Eligibility of the US Secretary of Education deferred renewal of recognition for a regional accrediting commission, other accrediting bodies—national, regional, institutional, and specialized— have become the focus of negative publicity that reflects a variety of