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Periodic Review Reports Workshop: Commission’s Expectations Robert K. Clark Today’s Session • I will present a Commissioner’s overview of the PRR process. – Methods of preparation and evaluation of the report will be covered in later sessions. Why do PRR? • Regional accreditation is a basic feature of the U.S. Higher Educational System. – Consists of: • A decennial Self-Study and Site visit, and • Periodic Review Report at intervening five year time points (also at ten year intervals). Why have regional accreditation? • The easy answer is that Title IV funds require accreditation. – Regional accreditation is the accepted form of accreditation for most institutions. • The right answer is that it leads to institutional improvement. – This is the heart of accreditation by peer-review. Peer-Review, what’s that all about? • Peer-review is the process through which institutions are evaluated by education professionals from institutions similar to the one being evaluated. – They are your peers – They understand your institution because they live with similar challenges and opportunities. – This is the basis for institutional improvement. Who are the peer reviewers? • You are. • In this room today we have representatives from institutions starting the PRR process. – PRRs due in 2013 • We also have reviewers in-training. – Will review PRRs this year. • I sincerely hope that some of those preparing PRRs now will be reviewers in the future! So, how does the process work? • PRR and Self-Study/Site Visit reviews involve a three-tiered system. – Peer-Reviewers – PRR Committee/ Evaluation Reports Committee – Full Commission So, how does the process work? • Once an institution submits its PRR, it is reviewed by two reviewers. – First and Second Readers. • They present their report and recommendations at the PRR Committee meeting. – They are Committee members for that meeting. – Recommendations are voted on and passed to the Commission. • Their recommendations move on to the full Commission. – May be on the consent agenda or the discussion agenda. – Leads to a vote by the full Commission Why so many steps? • The Commission accredits approximately 540 institutions. – Range from small, specialty institutions with few students and programs, to large comprehensive Universities with thousands of students. • We strive to make decisions that are equitable to all institutions. – This requires a careful, deliberative process. So, who are these Commissioners? • Multiple choice question (think Star Trek): a. Members of the Tal Shiar b. The Kingon High Council c. The Q Continumuum d. The Founders e. None of the above So, who are these Commissioners? • Answer: e. None of the above – They also are your peers. • Twenty-six elected representatives from member institutions throughout the region. – Chancellors – Presidents – Provosts and other administrators – Faculty – Public Representatives What are their decisions based on? • “Boring for the uninitiated, mystifying for the non-participant, a secular religion for those who have felt its spell…” Thomas C. Mendenhall The Characteristics of Excellence What are their decisions based on? • The 14 Standards in Characteristics are applied to all institutions through the three- tiered approach to review. – Keep this in mind as you prepare your PRRs – Keep this in mind as you review PRRs – Also be sure to use the Handbook for Periodic Review Reports • Institutions starting PRR should use the new edition Are the standards becoming more difficult to achieve? • In a way, yes. • Stakeholders are demanding more accountability. – Government – Tax payers – Students’ families – Students – Private Foundations Are the standards becoming more difficult to achieve? • The current standards have been phased in. – Require a higher level of accountability than in the past. • Especially 7 and 14. We are in the era of compassionate rigor. What tone should one adopt in the PRR? • Tell us of your institution’s accomplishments and successes. – Come on, it’s OK to brag a little. “If you think yourself a poor specimen, you will probably always remain one, or most likely become one, but if you think of yourself as having possibilities of greatness in you, there is a chance for you.” Theodor Leschetizsky What tone should one adopt in the PRR? • But above all, keep it accurate. “All mothers think their children oaks, but the world never lacks for cabbages.” Robertson Davies What tone should one adopt in the PRR? • Keep in mind that the PRR does not involve a site visit. – In some ways, accuracy in the PRR is even more necessary than in the Self-Study. • We don’t want your institution, now or in the future, to …“suffer the disorientation of revised perspective.” Hazard Adams What tone should one adopt in the PRR? • But “Winning by the accumulation of small efforts works miracles.” Craig Lambert • Tell us about these small efforts and the miracles they result in. And how about the Reviewer? • Reviewers please remember, these are your peers, colleagues from institutions similar to yours. – Don’t forget the compassion in compassionate rigor. “Those who enjoy kicking dogs will find dogs to kick.” Sue Harrison And how about the Reviewer? • Try to come to know the institution you are reviewing. – Remember… “daring judgments often spare us the effort of deeper insights.” Jean Paul • It’s the deeper insights we are after. – Never compare them to your own institution or your idealized institution. – Always compare them to the standards presented in the Characteristics of Excellence What ultimately is it all about? Institutional Improvement “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle – Accreditation by peer review should help to develop in our institutions the habits that lead to excellence.
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