|AUB earns final US accreditation (Daily Star)
|Process, begun in 2000, ends with a passing grade
Despite delays and difficulties, the American University of Beirut has joined a small but distinguished list of Mideast universities to receive final accreditation from regional accrediting bodies in the United States, bringing closure to a project that began over three years ago to examine the institutional objectives and performance of the university.
AUC in Cairo and American University in Sharjah are the only other universities in the region accredited by regional accrediting bodies in the US. The approval of the accreditation process, conducted under the authority of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, is an expression of confidence in the mission and performance of AUB in meeting the educational objectives of a higher education institution, as determined by MSCHE.
Though the accreditation process expresses a new level of confidence in the institution, degrees granted by AUB have long been accepted and recognized by academic institutions in the US and abroad. AUB began the accreditation process in 2000, first establishing eligibility for candidacy for accreditation. Four other stages followed: an application process, preparing for and conducting an extensive self-review, and hosting a team of faculty and administrators from accredited US schools for an extensive peer-review process. The report for the self-review took two years.
Accreditation is a common activity for educational institutions in the US. The process often takes years, and examines all aspects of the institution, its objectives, successes, and shortcomings. Though much of the process is conducted by the institution, via an extensive self-review process, the most intensive examination is the peer review.
In this stage, faculty and administrators from other educational institutions and representatives of the accrediting organization visit the institution to determine the effectiveness and objectivity of the self-review, and to examine the state of the institution. Though the peer-review is traditionally done in person, officials from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education canceled the planned visits because of security concerns. Making an exception to MSCHE policy, they conducted the whole peer-review process through five days of video-conferencing between AUB's New York office and the campus in Beirut. It was the first time such a method was used by MSCHE.
AUB was founded in 1866 as a private, independent, non-sectarian institution of higher learning. Though it has operated under a New York charter since its founding, this is the first time the university has completed the full accreditation process.
The Daily Star