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Professional Program Accreditation Policy

Professional Program Accreditation Policy

Authority: 
Academic and Student Affairs
Date enacted or revised: 
August 29, 2005; Revised January 2016
 

McNeese State University conforms to the General Policy for Program Accreditation as specified by the Board of Regents.  The Board of Regents Academic Affairs Policy 2.13 recognizes accrediting agencies that it considers as mandatory, recommended, or optional for eligible programs offered by public community colleges, colleges/universities, and the Louisiana Technical College.  A program that is eligible for accreditation by an agency that is considered mandatory must be accredited for continued program approval.  If the program is not accredited, the Academic Affairs staff will recommend to the Board of Regents that the program be terminated. The Board of Regents encourages institutions to obtain accreditation of programs that are eligible for accreditation by an agency that it recommends, but the accreditation is not essential for continued program approval.  Accrediting agencies that are not considered as mandatory or recommended by the Board of Regents are considered optional, and the Board of Regents encourages institutions with eligible programs to evaluate the importance of those accreditations to its students.

1.  Criteria for Mandatory Accreditation of Programs:  Unless exempted by the Board of Regents, accreditation of a specific program will be deemed mandatory if it meets one or more of the following criteria:
a. the program prepares students for employment in occupations or professions that Louisiana and/or a significant number of states require licensure by an examination and for which graduation from an accredited program is one of the qualifying criteria to sit for the exam;
b. the program prepares students for employment in occupations or professions that require graduation from an accredited program for employment and/or advancement in the occupation or profession;
c. accreditation of the program is deemed critical for students to be admitted to a more advanced degree program; and
d. accreditation is deemed mandatory by the Board of Regents because of the critical nature of the program and its importance to the state and/or because accreditation is important for national credibility and recognition.
  2.  Unaccredited Programs That Are Eligible for Accreditation by an Agency That Is Classified as Mandatory by the Board of Regents:  The Board of Regents will stipulate in its motion of approval for all new degree programs with mandatory accreditation a date certain for achieving accreditation. Typically, accreditation will be required within three to five years from the date of program implementation depending on such factors as program length and specific requirements set forth by the accrediting agency.  In arriving at the required date for accreditation, the staff will consult with the affected university or college prior to action by the Board of Regents.

3.  Actions of Accreditation Agencies:  An institution must report all disciplinary actions, such as warning, probation, or withdrawal of accredited status, and a brief explanation of the conditions and/or deficiencies that resulted in the action to the Board of Regents upon receipt of the official notification of the action by the agency. The institution must submit a copy of the institution's response to the report regarding disciplinary action of an accrediting agency, along with a copy of the original report of the agency, to the Board of Regents.

4.  Exemption from Routine Program Review by the Board of Regents:  A program that is accredited and is not on warning or probation by an agency that is recognized as either mandatory or recommended will ordinarily be exempt from routine Board of Regents program reviews. Special or extenuating circumstances may prompt review of a particular program in a particular institution or a statewide review of a specific program or programs.

5.  Reporting of the Accredited Status of Programs:  Each academic program record maintained by the Board of Regents notes the “first” and “last” review dates for the respective program’s accreditation cycle (if applicable).  It is incumbent upon each campus to keep this information current by sending updated copies of accreditation reports to Regents’ Academic Affairs Staff.  There will be periodic reviews done by staff requesting updated accreditation status information in those instances where approval has lapsed.  Documentation should include actions taken by accrediting agencies since the last review. 

6.  Removal of Mandatory Classification of an Accrediting Agency:  An agency classified as a mandatory on the Board of Regents Recognized Accrediting Agencies will retain that classification unless it is removed by action of the Board on a recommendation from the Academic Affairs staff. Such a recommendation will generally result from a determination, through an appropriate review of the staff and the Council of Chief Academic Officers, that the agency's policies, practices, and/or actions are inappropriate and/or fail to meet the highest professional standards.

7.  Accreditation of Engineering and Engineering Technology Programs:  Accreditation of a program is generally considered mandatory for engineering and engineering-related technology programs. 

The following policies will be used to determine the appropriate accrediting agency for programs in CIP Codes 14 and 15 that are eligible for accreditation.
a. All degree programs in CIP Code 14 Engineering must be accredited by the Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET);
b. All Engineering Technology Associate of Science, Bachelor of Applied Science, Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degree programs CIP Code 15 must be accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology (ABET);
c. All Technology Associate of Applied Science programs and non-Engineering Technology Bachelor of Science degree programs in CIP Code 15 must be accredited by the Associate of Technology, Management, and Applied Engineering (ATMAE – formerly NAIT) or an equivalent appropriate accrediting agency, if available.
d. Baccalaureate degree programs in Engineering and Engineering Technology are exempt from mandatory ABET accreditation when the institution’s master’s degree program in the same discipline has already obtained ABET accreditation.
e. Associate degree programs in Engineering and Engineering Technology are exempt from mandatory ABET accreditation when the institution’s bachelor’s degree program in the same discipline has already obtained ABET accreditation.
Communication
This policy is distributed via Academic Advisory Council, Senior Staff, and the University Policy page.