Date of Degree
PhD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Educational Policy and Leadership Studies
Concerns about the value and quality of higher education have led to increased scrutiny of the U.S. system of peer accreditation. Public policy-makers have begun to question the extent to which accrediting agencies achieve their quality assurance and quality improvement objectives in the colleges and universities they accredit. Some have begun to call for an expanded federal role in assuring quality at the nation's colleges and universities.
Only a few studies exist that examine accreditation processes and outcomes in any higher education context. This qualitative, multi-case study utilizes in-depth interview data to explore perceived outcomes, specific changes attributable to the accreditation process, and perceived effects, the long-term or unintended results of accreditation, at four institutions recently accredited by the Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE) for the purpose of evaluating the value of peer accreditation to assure or advance quality.
Content analysis of within-case and across-case data support the finding that accreditation processes do exert a positive influence on institutions pursuing accredited status. All four case institutions perceived mission refinement, formalization of processes and structures, role differentiation and clarification, resource development, program development, and evaluation as they engaged in the accreditation process. These efforts resulted in enhanced mission achievement, increased institutional or sector credibility, increased institutional resources, and increased organizational effectiveness.
Copyright 2013 Lisa L. Beatty