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Periodic Review Reports Workshop_ Commission Expectations


									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
  – Regional accreditation is the accepted form of
    accreditation for most institutions.
• The right answer is that it leads to institutional
  – 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
• Their recommendations move on to the full
   – 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
  – 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
  – 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
     • Especially 7 and 14.

We are in the era of compassionate rigor.
  What tone should one adopt in the
• 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
• 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
• 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
• 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
  – Don’t forget the compassion in compassionate

  “Those who enjoy kicking dogs will find dogs to
    Sue Harrison
    And how about the Reviewer?
• Try to come to know the institution you are
   – 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.”
  – Accreditation by peer review should help to
    develop in our institutions the habits that lead to

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