The Potential of Accreditation to Foster Diversity in Teacher Education Programs
Accreditation has considerable capacity to regulate higher education for quality assurances if it lives up to its potential. Accrediting agencies ensure rigor, effectiveness, and continuous improvement by verifying that institutions meet or exceed prescribed norms and standards (Gafoor & Khabeer, 2013). In return, they bestow integrity and legitimacy on the institution and its programs and protect them from unwarranted criticisms (Head & Johnson, 2011). Institutions of higher education strive for excellence, equity, and innovation. In fact, most institutions include diversity in their mission statements or strategic goals indicating their desire to promote a diverse and inclusive environment that values, respects, and cares for all its members. Yet most campuses still struggle with ways to negotiate differences, maintain civility, and ensure equal opportunity for all their constituents (Clark, Fasching-Varner, & Brimhall-Vargas, 2012). Accreditation can assist institutions in actualizing their commitment to democracy and true excellence by setting clear and rigorous standards that demand that institutions produce measurable outcomes to support their claims.