Higher education accreditation relies on processes that would satisfy no one as equivalent to the protections guaranteed by the legal system. Many would criticize (and often end up challenging in courts) the outcomes of a process that serves as a proxy for governmental review, establishing eligibility for participation in federal and state programs -- especially considering the higher standard a government review would be held to, had not the entire process been outsourced. This article addresses the ways in which those protections are lacking:

  • Absence of binding precedent.
  • Vagueness in standards, and failure to define practices that ensure compliance.
  • A review with so much discretion as to allow justification of any desired result.
  • Inability to challenge or negotiate the standards and focus of review.

It also focuses on the strategies that become necessary to be successful in such a process. These include:

  • Speaking to reviewers experience and interests.
  • Aligning institutional objectives with the desired purposes and outcomes of the accrediting body.
  • Developing a relationship based on integrity, which inspires confidence in an institution's ability to self-regulate.
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