AFT Resolution

ACCREDITATION AND QUALITY IN HIGHER EDUCATION

WHEREAS, the United States relies upon nongovernmental, college and university-supported accrediting agencies to certify the quality of institutions of higher education; and

WHEREAS, approval by a recognized accrediting agency is required by the federal government in order for a college or university to receive government funding; and

WHEREAS, accrediting agencies certify institutions of higher education based on institutional adherence to the agency's published standards and on periodic site visits by administrators and faculty chosen by the accrediting agency; and

WHEREAS, AFT affiliates often report that accreditation site teams fail to consult with local union leaders or give serious weight to information presented by the union; and

WHEREAS, accrediting agencies have not made a serious attempt to curb the over-reliance on part-time faculty in our colleges and universities, as well as the erosion in tenured faculty positions and faculty governance, all of which adversely affect educational quality; and

WHEREAS, accrediting agencies have not paid sufficient attention to the importance of maintaining a strong cadre of librarians and other nonclassroom professionals in our colleges and universities; and

WHEREAS, the growing employment of electronically based distance learning raises concerns about educational quality that require strong oversight by accrediting agencies:

 

RESOLVED, that AFT call upon accrediting agencies to require that site review teams consult with the leadership of the campus collective bargaining agent as well as the faculty senate, and, if applicable, the higher education union affiliate where there is no bargaining agent; and

RESOLVED, that AFT call upon private accrediting agencies to consult periodically with representatives of the AFT, NEA and American Association of University Professors to discuss our mutual interests in maintaining educational quality, as well as faculty representation on accreditation-related bodies; and

RESOLVED, that AFT call upon accrediting agencies to enact and strictly enforce tough and specific standards to limit the number of part-time faculty and maintain a strong core of full-time tenured college faculty in charge of shaping the institution’s academic program and teaching most of it; and

RESOLVED, that AFT call upon accrediting agencies to enact and enforce quality standards for distance learning programs that include faculty control over the curriculum through normal academic processes; meaningful interaction between students and faculty; access to needed books, laboratories and other learning materials; adequate training in the use of computer hardware and software for faculty and students; assurance of objective research and assessment of programs; and protections against fraud and abuse.

(1998)

Please note that a newer resolution, or portion of a resolution, may have superseded an earlier resolution on the same subject. As a result, with the exception of resolutions adopted at our most recent AFT convention, resolutions do not necessarily reflect current AFT policies.