WHY ACCREDITATION IS A WASTE OF TIME
By Peter Augustine Lawler
Here’s my reaction when I saw the title of “The Great Accreditation Farce,” Peter Conn’s recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education: Finally, someone’s telling the truth. Our system of accreditation of colleges is indeed a farce, a waste of “millions of dollars and tens of thousands of hours.” To please external examiners, faculty and administration do work they would never to do otherwise and is of no obvious benefit to students. For instance, they prepare reports “often hundreds of pages in length and chock full of data” that will do nothing to improve their institutions.
Our system of accreditation by regional agencies is one reason among many for administrative bloat and the transfer of institutional power from faculty to administrators. Most dedicated and competent teachers—especially in my field of political philosophy—have no respect for the process at all. They comply because they must, coming up with rubrics they don’t believe in, expanding and fine-tuning syllabi with language that means little to them, and quantifying all sorts of stuff that doesn’t need or is amenable to quantification. None of the good professors—often, award-winning professors—that I know think that the accreditation process has helped them do their jobs better. It’s mainly a time-suck that falls just short of a serious threat to their sanity. So they approach the accreditation tasks delegated to them with a sense of ironic resignation–without spirit or enthusiasm. It is one of the duties for which they are paid, and not one of the joys that seduced them into choosing a profession that doesn’t pay much. READ MORE HERE