1

Do accreditation agencies limit academic freedom?

Specifically, have there been instances of accreditation agencies revoking a college's or university's accreditation status because of ideological conflicts—e.g., because the sorts of classes taught conflicted with the accreditor's ideological views? Did this restrict restrict the school's academic freedom?

  • 1
    Of course they do - that is part of their job. If you are looking to be accredited in engineering, and are offering only courses in Medieval German Literature, you will not get accredited. While this is perhaps a restriction on the school's academic freedom, it is perfectly in line with the accreditation organization's ideology that engineering classes should be about engineering. – Jon Custer Mar 30 '17 at 21:25
  • @JonCuster - Schools have two kinds of accreditation. They have general accreditation, which checks if they are running something that ought to be considered a legitimate university. In some subjects but not all, there is also separate subject accreditation, which checks if the program in a particular subject is legitimately teaching that subject. I believe the question is asking about general accreditation. – Alexander Woo Mar 30 '17 at 21:46
  • 2
    @AlexanderWoo - of course. My example does show the difficulty with the question. Further, the fact that s number and variety of explicitly religious universities shows that the umbrella accreditation is also not ideologically driven. – Jon Custer Mar 30 '17 at 23:28
  • @JonCuster Imagine a physics or engineering department offering a class on a "fringe science" or "pseudo-science" topic like perpetual motion machines. Could or has an accreditor stripped such a school of its accreditation because it doesn't think this "fringe science" or "pseudo-science" (as it'd call it) or "innovative science" (as the school would call it) is actually physics or engineering? – Geremia Mar 31 '17 at 14:23
  • 1
    You might be interested in the history of the Princeton Engineering Anomalies Lab (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/…). Its existence did not result in Princeton's accreditation being withdrawn. Based on my experiences with ABET accreditation, which now is very ISO-9000'ish, if you can point to your constituency (employers, graduate schools) being OK with a course, it will be OK with them. Otherwise, you seem to be fishing for something. – Jon Custer Mar 31 '17 at 14:48

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.