CHAPTER 1WHY IS AMERICAN HIGHER EDUCATION UNDER FIRE?

A generation or two ago, accreditation was typically a gentle, collegial affair. Once every few years, a college wrote a report, a team visited and offered some advice, and that was pretty much it. The concept of accountability was not on many folks’ radar screens. Government policymakers and the general public seemed to accept that, if a college was accredited, its quality was fine—end of story.

What a different world we live in today! Almost every day seems to bring some new report or statement on the perceived shortcomings and failures of U.S. higher education. Accreditation processes have become more onerous and the aftereffects—an additional report, visit, or public censure—more serious ...

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