Accrediting bodies develop criteria for evaluating universities and programs, and conduct peer reviews to assess whether or not those criteria are met. According to the Department of Education, the goal of accreditation is to ensure that institutions of higher education meet acceptable levels of quality in what they are delivering to students. Federal financial aid and employer tuition reimbursement are tied to accreditation, so it’s vital for recruiting and retaining students and faculty. But preparing the reports required by accreditors is a painful process, especially if you’re working from paper or spreadsheets. It doesn’t have to be—the right faculty activity reporting software eases accreditation. Here’s how.
1. Vendor as Knowledge Partner
As higher education faces greater scrutiny, accreditation requirements continue to evolve. Look to your faculty activity database vendor to maintain connections both in higher education and with accrediting bodies, and to work proactively to ensure that the screens, fields, and reports at your disposal align with the accreditor’s most current requirements. For example, AACSB has announced new reporting requirements that will take effect January 1, 2018. It’s important for a faculty activity software vendor to maintain relationships with both schools of business and the accreditor to best understand what’s required and how those requirements may impact the institutions accountable to it.
2. Tailored Reporting for Accreditors
A good faculty activity database includes built-in reports for specific accrediting bodies, such as regional accreditors like the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and professional accreditors like the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and theLiaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). In addition, a faculty activity database allows you to build reports to meet the requirements of virtually any accrediting body.
3. A Deep Well of Faculty Data
With faculty activity reporting software, you collect a body of data that can be used for a variety of purposes. The most common first use for a faculty activity database is annual reporting, a process which incidentally requires the same data as those most commonly required by accreditors, like courses taught and faculty qualifications. By collecting faculty’s data in fields that allow it to be reported for multiple purposes, you have more reliable, accurate information to share with accreditors. In fact, you should be able to prepare reports for your accreditors without having to ask faculty—again—for their activities and qualifications.
4. Commitment to Accreditation Reporting
For the past 18 years, Digital Measures has worked with both universities and accrediting bodies to understand a wide range of accreditation reporting requirements and to proactively provide reports to support them. Through these collaborative efforts we’ve also identified best practices for structuring data fields to be useful for accreditation reporting. We also created data auditing reports to make it quick and easy to ensure complete and accurate reporting, whether you’re complying with very specific guidelines and templates, such as those for AACSB reporting, or more self-defined evidence and reasoning, as in HLC reporting.
5. A Community of Peers
Interested in learning more about accreditation reporting? Connect with your university peers at User Group 2017, October 8-10 in Milwaukee. We have a full slate of speakers from higher education sharing their success stories, including several presentations on accreditation:
- 100% Credentialed with Wendy Anson, Associate Vice Provost, Faculty Human Resources & Administration, American Public University System: With the rollout of new HLC requirements, American Public University System needed to quickly customize their system to ensure 100% faculty course credentialing—and they did, for more than 1,800 faculty in just two years. Learn how APUS uses their new screens and reports for a variety of faculty tracking, in addition to HLC.
- Scaling Up: Data Driven Decisions Using Activity Insight Across Campus with Christopher Olsen, Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Susan Powers, Associate Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Indiana State University: With the support of the faculty senate and key administrators, Indiana State University has moved to a fully scaled implementation of Activity Insight, including all faculty and accreditation reporting, award applications and strategic plan reporting. Learn about crucial decisions that allowed this transformation and where they’re headed next.
- All Things AACSB with Suzanne Mintz, Senior Director for Accreditation at AACSB: New brand, new standards, new AACSB. Hear about the latest updates from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business.