Recently, the first inclusive higher education program in the United States achieved accreditation. The UP Program at Western Carolina University was accredited for a period of seven years by the Inclusive Higher Education Accreditation Council (IHEAC). The IHEAC is the newly formed non-profit program accreditor focused on college programs serving students with intellectual disability.
In May the quarterly meeting of the National Coordinating Center Accreditation Workgroup (NCC AWG) was held in Washington, DC. The focus of the meeting was to discuss the accreditation process and hear feedback from Dr. Kelly Kelley on the full process. Peer reviewers and workgroup members, Carol Britton Laws, Bill Loyd, and Cindi May also provided feedback on the accreditation site visit and suggestions for future peer reviewer training.
This summer, two subcommittees of the NCC AWG workgroup will incorporate feedback from the first pilot site to 1) revise and release the Guidance Manual for Program Accreditation, and 2) further develop a Peer Reviewer Training. In addition, the second and third pilot site programs will help the NCC AWG launch phase two of the accreditation process by using the refined self-study in Fall of 2023. Given that accreditation typically takes a minimum of 1 year, we anticipate pilot sites to host site visits with peer reviewers in Spring of 2024.