What is Accreditation?
Accreditation is both a status and a continuous improvement process. As a status, accreditation informs the public that a program meets rigorous standards set by an external, highly respected accrediting body. As a process, accreditation ensures that the College is committed to the external review required within the accreditation process but also to a process of continuous assessment, evaluation and improvement to comply with accreditation standards.
In today’s environment, educational institutions are being held more and more accountable for producing top quality graduates that are ready to become contributing members of industry. Accreditation is an effective method of measuring and demonstrating graduate and program quality as well as institutional effectiveness.
What does that mean exactly?
It means that an accredited program has been reviewed and approved by an external, unbiased accrediting body. We have to provide evidence that we have:
- High standards in terms of academic quality
- Commitment to College Mission and Vision
- Sufficient supports and resources in place for our students, faculty and staff
- A continuous improvement cycle
- Industry connection and support
- Qualified faculty in our classrooms
Accrediting a program involves a tremendous amount of work for an institution as well as the accrediting body. The process is lengthy and requires commitment from all levels. Documentation is prepared to address specific standards of the accrediting body. This is followed by site visits, curriculum reviews, interviews and verification that processes and policies documented are being followed and utilized.
Benefits of Accreditation
Accredited programs provide students with the confidence that you will receive a top quality education and graduate with the skill sets required within industry. Simply stated, it means getting the education employers want.
Opportunities also exist for program recognition internationally, networking with accredited institutions globally, awards from the accrediting body, and possible funding from external agencies.
Graduates of accredited programs leave the College with the skills required by industry and the ability to incorporate these skills into the workplace. They will be able to enter the workforce with the knowledge that they have received quality training from a reputable institution. Graduates of accredited programs should find it easier to transfer credits to other institutions and ensures you gain the right skills for your investment.
Accreditation assures employers that an accredited program has been evaluated and proven to meet the standards that are based on successful business practice and education standards and that the institution commits to continuously improve or become more effective.
Faculty benefit through ongoing professional development needed to ensure they are up to date with industry requirements. Accrediting agencies also provide access to a network of faculty at other institutions for the sharing of “best practices.”
Feedback from the site visit teams aid in creating goals for self-improvement within the College; establishing criteria for improvement and development; continuous improvement within a program; identifies any possible weaknesses as well as strengths; and, ensures that the College hires faculty that meet the requirements set forth by the accrediting body. In addition to receiving accreditation status, the accrediting body provides an institution with access to additional services and valuable industry feedback. It also aids in strengthening student learning, student achievement and continuous improvement.
Requirements to Maintain Accreditation
Business programs are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs which requires programs be reviewed every 10 years, with two-year quality assurance reporting requirements.
Information Technology programs are accredited by the Canadian Information Processing Society which requires programs to be reviewed every three years. After two successful accreditations, the College may extend accreditation an additional two years by completing an evolution review.