Accreditors Without Borders

Elizabeth Redden, Ignatia Webs, Apr 03, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

Interesting article (with a terrible world map graphic) on the question of whether U.S.-based accreditors should expand their scrutiny to institutions in other nations (what they call 'foreign'). The tone is overwhelmingly one of whether these international institutions will measure up: "can standards built on values underlying American higher education be upheld with integrity in other cultural contexts?" Or would they be "accepting circumstances at foreign institutions that they wouldn’t tolerate domestically." I would be more inclined to ask whether the values of U.S.-based accreditation agencies apply in an international context. As Philip G. Altbach says (see the very bottom of this long article) "We accredit some pretty lousy institutions here [in the U.S.]." Personally, I think the rest of the world can do better.

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