Monday, December 6, 2010

Even academia is noting the heavy hand of the Federal government

I saw this last week.  One of the smaller accrediting bodies, the American Academy for Liberal Education (AALE) is removing itself from the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity's re-recognition process.  The reasons??  Too many findings and too little time to address them.  They are going to knuckle under later, one the Department of Ed gets its shit together "once the policies of the [Department of Education] have been established with more muscle and resources".  Right now though, they feel that they are being slammed on in order to set an example to other, larger accrediting bodies.  And they are probably right since demands by various governmental and non-governmental entities has increased exponentially in the last ten years.

As a side note, I've seen a lot of articles about administrative bloat in academia (a sampling is here, here, here, and here).  But my feeling, and something that has not really been addressed in any of those articles, is that some (not all) administrative bloat is caused by increasing 'accountability' through increased reporting requirements to the feds, to accreditors, to the state, even to the NCAA (and believe me, the NCAA reporting, even for small programs, is so onerous that for a $1 million/year program with 8 teams, it can take a solid 40 hour week to put the data together and get it into their system).  In order for some colleges and universities to meet those demands, they have to hire administrators dedicated to data collections and dissemination to all of the institutional bodies mentioned above. 

Governmental pushes for increased accountability, as measured by the accreditation standards of various entities:   Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), North Central Association of Colleges and Schools The Higher Learning Commission (NCA-HLC), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) Commission on Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (WASC-ACCJC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities (WASC-ACSCU) have increased the need for administrative staff.  See the list of programmatic accrediting bodies here.  

All colleges and universities will fall under one regional accreditor and will probably have to provide programmatic data to several others. 

All of these report to Council for Higher Education Accreditation--the accreditor for accreditors.


Then there is reporting to the Feds, the state, NCAA and others.  With all of these reporting requirements (and those are growing every day) it's no wonder that there is administrative bloat.  It is another indication of government run wild and the layers put into place in order to control the educational system of the United States.

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