Criteria for Accreditation

The Criteria for Accreditation are organized under five major headings. Each Criterion has three elements: Criterion Statement, Core Components and Examples of Evidence. The Criteria Statements define necessary attributes of an organization accredited by the Commission. An organization must be judged to have met each of the Criteria to merit accreditation.

An organization addresses each Core Component as it presents reasonable and representative evidence of meeting a Criterion. The Examples of Evidence illustrate the types of evidence an organization might present in addressing a Core Component.

The Criteria are intentionally general so that accreditation decisions focus on the particulars of each organization, rather than on trying to make it fit a pre-established mold. The widely different purposes and scopes of colleges and universities demand criteria that are broad enough to encompass diversity and support innovation, but clear enough to ensure acceptable quality.

The Criteria Statements and Core Components are presented here. Visit the Commission’s Web site to view the Examples of Evidence.

Criterion One: Mission and Integrity. The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff and students.

Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future. The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching. The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.

Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge. The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service. As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.