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What is WINHEC Accreditation?

Accreditation performs a number of important functions including the validation of credibility on the part of the public being served and encouragement of efforts toward maximum educational effectiveness.

The accrediting process requires schools as well as other educational institutions and programs to examine their own goals, operations, and achievements in light of their native peoples’ philosophies and worldviews.

It also provides the expert critiques and suggestions of an external review team and the recommendations of the accrediting body. 

Since the accreditation is reviewed periodically, institutions are encouraged toward continued self-study and improvement.

Accreditation of schools, educational institutions and specialized programs is granted by a number of national and regional organizations, each representing a lens through which to examine the quality and integrity of the institution | organization | school | program (ISOP) in question.

Though each of these organizations has its distinctive definitions of eligibility, criteria for accreditation, and operating procedures, most of them undertake accreditation as one means of assuring the public constituencies about the quality and integrity of the services rendered.

While the procedures of the various national and professional accrediting structures differ somewhat in detail, each is intended to fulfill the following purposes:

  • Foster quality assurance in education through the development of criteria and guidelines for assessing educational effectiveness in a context that values diversity and reflects locally defined definitions of what constitutes quality and effectiveness;
  • Encourage institutional improvement of educational endeavors through continuous self-study and evaluation;
  • Insure the educational community, the general public, and other agencies or organizations that an IOSP has clearly defined, appropriate educational objectives, has established conditions under which their achievement can reasonably be expected, appears in fact to be accomplishing them substantially, and is so organized, staffed, and supported that it can be expected to continue to do so; and
  • Provide counsel and assistance to established and developing institutions/schools/ programs.

What differs between this process and others is that accreditation by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority means that an Indigenous-serving institution/school/program’s work:

  • Is framed by the Indigenous philosophy(ies) of the native community it serves,
  • Are soundly conceived and intelligently devised,
  • Integrates Indigenous culture, language, and worldviews into programing,
  • Are purposefully being accomplished in a manner that should continue to merit confidence by the Indigenous constituencies being served.
  • When granted, accreditation applies to the entire IOSP in operation at the time of the most recent full-scale review.
  • It indicates that the IOSP has been carefully and thoroughly examined and has been found to be achieving its own particular purposes in a satisfactory manner.

Furthermore, accreditation by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority takes into account and supports the diversity which exists among Indigenous-serving IOSPs.

Quality is evaluated in terms of the purposes the institution seeks to accomplish.

Once deemed to have met the criteria established by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority, candidate institutions and programs become full voting members of the WINHEC Accreditation Authority Board with all the rights and privileges specified in the enclosed Guiding Principles.

 World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium

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