CAO Leadership Forum
Leadership Forum for CEOs, CAOs, and ALOs
Accreditation and the Public Good
Current criticisms of higher education and accreditation reflect a tectonic shift in public opinion, from a long-standing appreciation for higher education as a public good to a far more utilitarian view that sees higher education primarily as a pathway to individual prosperity. This change in perspective, evident in sharp declines in state support for public institutions and in increased student debt, has prompted demands that colleges and universities be held more accountable to the individuals who seek to benefit from the credentials they offer. Accreditation—and accredited institutions—can address the concerns that have been voiced about accreditation while promoting a broader perspective more in keeping with traditional American values. Stage one would be to continue the “housekeeping” already under way—making certain that accreditation addresses public concerns about quality and effectiveness, operates as efficiently and as transparently as possible, and tells its story more persuasively. Stage two would be the concerted and coordinated articulation of a shared vision, one that proposes the recovery of a fundamental democratic value. Accreditation and accredited institutions must stand up for and promote the conviction that higher education not only offers advantages to individuals, but also benefits the welfare of the nation. CEOs, CAOs, and ALOs are invited to join Paul Gaston for this interactive Leadership Forum to explore these concepts and engage in proactive opportunities for addressing such needs.
Presentation and handouts for this session can be found here: https://wascsenior.box.com/s/aa6vs0rx9p4not9utusqimk3ozm7b3g8
Paul L. Gaston, III, Trustees Professor at Kent State University, pursues a broad commitment to interdisciplinary teaching and research in higher education reform, public policy, and the humanities. He is one of four authors of the Degree Qualifications Profile, published by Lumina Foundation. As a consultant to the Foundation, he makes frequent presentations describing the development of the Profile and its potential uses. His most recent book, Accreditation: How It’s Changing, Why It Must, was published in fall 2013 (Stylus Publishing). He is the author also of Revitalizing General Education (2014), The Challenge of Bologna (2010), Revising General Education, co-authored with Jerry Gaff (2009), and General Education and Liberal Learning (2010). His scholarly articles consider subjects as varied as early rock ‘n’ roll, the Italian novel, computer dominated futures trading, the future of the book, interart analogies, the poetry of George Herbert, the fiction of Walker Percy, and minor league baseball. He has been a member of the faculty of the AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment for 15 years. He earned both the M.A. and the Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, where he was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow.