The travel cycle leading up to the April 2018 Commission meeting was the most voluminous ever. It included large teams, weather related travel delays, complicated team reports plus exhausted volunteers and ACCET staff. Somehow, we weathered the storm and all was in place by the time the Commission gathered. I would especially like to thank the membership for the extraordinary effort made to provide qualified volunteers to visit our numerous initial accreditation sites. It was an exceptional team effort and exemplified ACCET’s partnership with its members.
Once gathered, the Commission faced a huge agenda. Many Commissioners came in early to read files and attend longer than usual Financial Review Board and Completion and Placement Committee meetings. We enlisted the assistance of several former Commissioners to serve in a pro tempore capacity; extended the Commission schedule by a day; scheduled some evening meetings; and staff organized several pre-meeting preparation documents to facilitate numerous tasks. The Commission reached agreement on several extremely difficult accreditation decisions after hours of discussion, research and deliberations. Everyone had tasks to perform at capacity and they did so with dedication and conscientiousness. I thank our Commissioners and staff for an extraordinary effort.
Just days prior to the Commission meeting, Federal Judge Reggie B. Walton remanded the ACICS recognition issue back to the Secretary of Education citing the Department’s failure to review 36,000 pages of documents originally requested as part of the ACICS re-recognition process. As a result Secretary DeVos (at least temporarily) reinstated ACICS and the clock reverted back to December 2016. As of today, we await further clarity and decisions by the Secretary that are expected this summer. Her initial action, however, meant that institutions who had maintained their ACICS membership while seeking accreditation from another agency, were protected from having their Title IV funds impacted if affiliation with a new agency was not completed by June 12, 2018. This was the case for many institutions seeking ACCET accreditation but other schools who, for various legitimate reasons, decided to cease their affiliation with ACICS, are still subject to the June 12 deadline. We have at least three such institutions in this category and will, therefore, hold a special Commission meeting (via remote means) in early June to, once again, consider their credentials before the June 12 deadline. In some cases there are serious completion and placement challenges that some schools may not be able to successfully improve in such a short period of time. ACCET continues to try to influence governmental decision makers that these institutions, who have done everything properly, should not be penalized but this has been a most challenging process. We will keep you posted on developments as they occur.
I also call your attention elsewhere on the website announcing that we are seeking nominations to fill two institutional Commissioner openings and encourage you to nominate colleagues or yourself for these hard-working positions. Both retiring Commissioners have extensive Intensive English Program experience so nominees with similar experience will be especially welcome but the field is wide open to consider nominees with all relevant backgrounds. Thank you for your consideration.
Best wishes for a busy, productive and enjoyable summer. Your continued support of ACCET is deeply appreciated.