Accreditation is the assurance that the University meets quality standards established by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.
Deep University currently offers unaccredited courses and training programs in various topics related to Deep Education, deep language learning and teaching and teacher education. It has established its quality standards in Schedule 3 of its license agreement.
There is no current claim that Deep University might provide accredited degrees, since Deep University is a startup business. Nonetheless the Board of Directors of Deep University intends, in the coming months and years, to get accredited courses that get equivalences in other universities, and accredited graduate and undergraduate programs, as well as institutional accreditation. This will be done in various ways: through employing accredited full professors from other universities for its courses, through providing course equivalences from accredited partner universities, through accreditation by international academic associations, through specialized programmatic accreditation and through formal accreditation processes, which this text reviews first.
In the U.S., universities seek accreditation through either institutional or specialized accreditation agencies. Institutional accreditation is either regional or national. National accreditation focuses on trade and technical institutions, and religious colleges. Six regional agencies are in charge of institutional accreditation in the U.S., which accredit degree granting colleges and universities. Their accreditation is under the purview of the Department of Education and it validates institutional quality and evaluates the academic offering, governance and administration, mission, finances, and resources. Wisconsin is under North Central States accreditation.
North Central States Accreditation
As a company located in Wisconsin, Deep University will seek regional accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, 230 South Lasalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois, 60614-1413, www.hlcommission.org, (800) 621-7400. The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree granting colleges and universities in the North Central region of which Wisconsin is a part. Here is a summary of the Criteria for Accreditation set as standards to receive and maintain accredited status:
- The Mission must be clear, public and adopted by the Academic Board. It must guide the university’s operations. Planning, programs, and budget are aligned with this mission. The mission documents clarify the nature, scope, and intended components of the programs and services provided. They address the university’s role regarding diversity in a multicultural society and its commitment to public good. Education takes precedence over financial return and investment.
- The University acts with integrity in an ethical and responsible way. It establishes policies for fair and ethical behavior and autonomy of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff. Freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning are key to the mission of the university, which calls for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, students and staff. Policies on academic honesty and integrity are enforced.
- Quality, Resources, and Support of Teaching and Learning are appropriate and consistent over modes of delivery, face-to-face and online. Required performance is degree-appropriate and differentiates learning goals for the undergraduate, graduate, post-graduate, and certificate courses and programs. The university engages in intellectual inquiry and its members contribute to scholarship, creative work, and the discovery of knowledge in effective, high-quality programs. Degree programs engage the learners in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information, mastering inquiry and creation, and developing life-long learning skills adapted to a changing world.
- Evaluation and educational improvement: Deep University “demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.1” This entails regular student assessment, clear standards and outcomes, program reviews as per license renewal, specialized accreditation with national associations when relevant, recourse to co-accreditation of courses and programs, and national and international accreditation agencies, and evaluating the success of graduates.
- Institutional Effectiveness: The resources, plans, structures, and processes proposed by Deep University must be sufficient to fulfill its mission and strengthen the quality of its programs, courses and online and face-to-face environments. It must be able to face future challenges and opportunities. The fiscal and human resources and physical and technological infrastructures must be sufficient to support Deep University operations wherever and however programs are delivered. The goals must be realistic and resource allocation must ensure that the education goals of local campuses are not adversely affected by disbursement of revenue to a superordinate entity. Resources are allocated in alignment with the university mission and priorities. Staff must be qualified and well trained, and the university has well-developed processes in place for budgeting and monitoring expenses. Policies engage internal constituencies—board of directors and academic council, administration, faculty, staff, and students—in the institutional governance through processes that ensure effective contribution and collaborative effort.
Such accreditation reflects guiding values:
- The focus on student learning encompasses recruitment and admission; costs and financial aid; information and guidance; breadth, depth and relevance of what is being learned; co-curricular offerings; program effectiveness; and success after studies.
- Education is a public good, thus it serves a public purpose and entails societal obligations associated with complex standards of care. Educational experiences have the potential to transform lives. This entails a solemn responsibility for which the institution is accountable.
- Education for a diverse, technological, globally connected world: Social diversity and the role of technology in the global dynamics of the 21st century requires a commitment for lifelong learning in the likelihood that no job will last a lifetime. Vocational training must broaden intellectual capabilities, civic learning and the receptivity to cultural differences that underlie success in the workforce and social contexts of today and tomorrow.
- Maintaining a culture of organizational learning and continuous improvement: Both student learning and institutional learning require continuous forms of assessment. Commitment to assessment should be embedded in the university’s activities. Assessment not only applies to educational outcomes but to a general approach to institutional effectiveness. Innovation is essential in a time of rapid change and challenge. Commitment to assessment involves faculty at all points, and proceeds from reflective analyses of results; the institution improves its programs and services on the basis of such analyses. External expertise is crucial in the process to evaluate indicators of quality and the specific needs for improvement. Evidence is critical in the institutional learning process. The university must select evidence based on its particular purposes and context.
- Integrity, transparency, and ethical practice: Integrity implies wholeness and coherence, ethical and professional practice. The governance system is freely and independently focused on the welfare of education and its students, avoiding misleading practices; disclosing information before students make any commitment to the institution; requiring ethical practice from all members of the university community in all activities.
- The board of directors and the academic council are accountable for the well-being of the university and must have independent authority, holding themselves free of undue influence from individuals, donors, elected officials, supporters, shareholders, or people with personal or political interests. Quality governance in higher education provides a significant role for faculty, in particular with regard to curriculum, expectations, qualifications of the instructional staff, and choice of resources for instruction.
- Resources, planning and management of resources must ensure institutional sustainability. The institution must be sustainable and must manage its resources wisely to be in operation for the duration of students’ degree programs. Careful mid- and long-range planning must undergird the university’s budget and finance decisions.
- Mission-centered accreditation and evaluation through peer review: The diversity of missions and differences in mission across universities legitimate that expectations may differ and that institutional assessment may be adapted to its role. Peer review is essential for a judgment-based process in a highly complex field. It must be collegially open, firm in maintaining high-level standards, appreciating and promoting academic quality.
There are various types of accreditation, which may impact students’ intended entry into their profession. The aforementioned institutional accreditation means that all students are attending an accredited institution.
Specialized Program Accreditation
Programmatic accreditation bodies may accredit specific programs and may be required by the State, even at regionally accredited institutions. Program accreditations range from using mandatory licensure examinations that give access to the work place because this is the path preferred by employers in that domain, to simply being a symbol of quality with no impact on any certification or licensure.
Besides its Education and World Language Studies components, Deep University may develop Business programs, as it will probably be the basis for startup seeding programs. Therefore it will most probably seek accreditation from the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE), 11374 Strang Line Road, Lenexa, Kansas, 66215, 1-913-631-3009, www.iacbe.org The IACBE is the leader in mission-driven and outcome-based program accreditation in business, for the purpose of advancing academic quality and excellence in business education throughout the world.
Certain Deep University degree programs may lead to teacher certification in certain States. State-specific initial programs may be offered in the future. Individual programs may vary by state. Not all programs might be available at all locations or in both online and on-campus modes. Candidates will be able to request an institutional recommendation upon successful completion of their program mentioning the achieved standards and the program requirements. Candidates should check with their State agency for any State-specific requirements, including the acceptability of Deep University's programs in any state in which they intend to seek licensure or certification. Program requirements are subject to change based on state certification requirements.
All forms of program accreditation available may not be pursued by this University when the costs and requirements may not be worth the value to the student in the respective marketplaces, as estimated by the University. The students should evaluate whether the specialized accreditation of a specific program, or lack thereof, may fit their career goals.
There is a risk that some States might not permit a student who has completed a certain academic program to become certified, licensed, or sit for a certifying or licensing examination if they graduated from a program that is not accredited. Such risk is common, for example, when students move from one State to another where the requirements differ.
Deep University has a policy of straightforward disclosure for its programmatic offering, such that in the future programs that are accredited are clearly mentioned as such in writing. If a Deep University program online or on a specific campus abroad does not mention its programmatic accreditation, students should assume the program does not have such specific accreditation.
Students are responsible for understanding the requirements for specialized certification, licensing, and for eligibility to sit for State licensing examinations in which they want to practice their profession. Deep University makes no representation, unless explicitly written, that students graduating in a particular program qualify for certification, licensing, or eligibility to sit for a licensing examination in a particular State or country. Students should review the specialized program accreditations on the Deep University website, if any, and read and sign the Accreditation Disclosure for their campus.
Even online programs may not be available in all State or compatible with local State-laws. In its online programs, Deep University will make good-faith effort to follow each State’s regulations concerning offering distance education programs in that respective state. Students should inquire and ensure that the program they target, if offered in a distance/online format, meets the requirements of the profession in their State. Deep University will make every effort to ensure it is in compliance with applicable laws, regulations and accreditation standards. However Education on the State level is ruled by each of the 50 States plus U.S. Territories. Therefore, in the future Deep University may have the authority to offer degrees to students through license, exemption or non-regulation by one State that does not exist in another State. Students admitted into Deep University while living in one State should, prior to relocating to another State, investigate as to whether or not Deep University is authorized (through non-regulation, exemption or license) to offer the degree program to students in their new State. Failure to assure whether or not Deep University has the ability to offer degrees in the State of a student’s new residence could result in the student having to be dismissed by the University as may be required by law.
Accreditation by International Academic Associations
In language studies and the language education arena, Deep University is supported by three international associations: APAMALL, ROCMELIA, AND INLEPS. More international associations may accredit its programs in the future for various branches of learning.
APAMALL – Asia-Pacific Association for Multimedia Applied to Language Learning
ROCMELIA – ROC Multimedia-based Evaluation of Language International Applicants
INLEPS – International Network for Language Education Policy studies.
Course co-Accreditation by Accredited Partner Universities
Some Deep University courses and programs may be used by other universities that provide course equivalency and program equivalency to their own courses and programs. As such, Deep University will create and reinforce its own accreditation process through partnering on courses taught by full professors in the top 500 world universities, and sharing programs with several highly noted universities that will produce shared accreditation.
Providing Courses Given by Full Professors Accredited in their University
During the first years of its operation, Courses given at Deep University will be given by Full Professors, some of whom may be Emeritus Professors, who have been tenured and qualified by their own university. As such their presence may guarantee that the content provided is credible and the courses meet high standards. In case of doubt, ask your university if it would provide an equivalency for the course you would like to take at Deep University.
 The detailed criteria are presented here: http://policy.hlcommission.org/Policies/criteria-for-accreditation.html