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Assuring and Advancing Quality for International Higher Education

JULY 23, 2015

There is growing international activity within the North American higher education--greater student mobility, increasing faculty exchanges and research collaborations, institutional partnerships, and reliance on online education.  This phenomenon is not just present within the public higher education community, but it is becoming more prevalent with private, faith-based colleges and universities, including many of the institutions that I have the privilege of serving through my consulting activities.  While I celebrate the global mission of our institutions and embrace many of the initiatives that are taking place, it creates a sense of urgency for a shared understanding of educational quality.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation, in collaboration with the International Quality Group, has developed a set of principles in a quest for effectiveness and educational quality:


1. Quality and higher education providers:  Assuring and achieving quality in higher education is the primary responsibility of higher higher education providers and their staff.

2. Quality and students:  The education provided to students must always be of high quality whatever the learning outcomes pursued.

3. Quality and society:  The quality of higher education provision is judged by how well it meets the needs of society, engenders public confidence, and sustains public trust.

4.  Quality and government:  Governments have a role in encouraging and supporting quality higher education.

5. Quality and accountability:  It is the responsibility of higher education providers and accreditation bodies to sustain a strong commitment to accountability and to provide evidence of quality.

6. Quality and the role of quality assurance and accrediting bodies:  Accreditation agencies, working with the institutions that are the educational providers, are responsible for the implementation of processes, tools, benchmarks, and measures that help to create a shared understanding of quality.

7. Quality and change:  Quality higher eduction needs to be flexible, creative, and innovative in meeting the evolving needs of students.

I affirm these principles which attempt to create educational understanding while respecting the differences of history, culture, and values that shape our systems of higher education throughout the world and our perspectives on quality.

Larry J. McKinney
Higher Educational Consultant
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