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We are humbled and honored that you are interested in becoming a member of WINHEC’s accreditation family.

In support of Native peoples across the world, this accrediting process seeks to affirm and champion the sovereign right to an education that upholds indigneous language, knowledge, ways of knowing and being, practices, and other aspects of Native life.

You are joining an empowered group of Native stakeholders who are blessed to witness and celebrate the Indigenous education movement and we hope that this process will help you understand the intent and subsequent outcomes related to being accredited by an international body of Native peers.

So, how does this process work?

What are the “look-for’s” when a visiting committee is reviewing an Indigenous institution | organization | school | program (IOSP)?

How will WINHEC’s accreditation help a Native community regain control of education for its people?

What constitutes successful accomplishment of an IOSP’s goals and who has the right to determine what is defined as success?

Moreover, how will this process help improve the viability and effectiveness of a Native-serving IOSP?

These critical questions with the addition of a few more are at the heart of this dynamic, interactive accrediting approach and we help answer the multitude of questions that you might have about this accreditation.

We also hope we can help you understand the power and inherent responsibility of WINHEC and its accreditation process.

On behalf of the WINHEC organization, we thank you for joining the journey to reclaim and re-empower Native education.

Welcome to the WINHEC family

Dr. Ray Barnhardt
Dr. Keiki Kawaiʻaeʻa
Dr. Walter Kahumoku III

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 IOSPs 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.

Accreditation process

WINHEC’s accrediting process is split into five (5) parts:

  • The letter of intent 
  • Eligibility application
  • Self-study
  • Visiting committee (report)
  • Accrediting board (ruling). 
There are also three (3) accreditation types:
  • Higher Education (HE)
  • Indigenous Teacher Education (ITE)
  • Pre-school to 12th grade (P-12)

Although there are slight variations between these accreditation types, all accreditations follow the same general sequence.

The following illustrates the step-by-step processes and critical questions to be answered. Each of the accreditation types has an assigned Board of Accreditation (BOA) co-chair.

The co-chair will assign a liaison to work with you after the Letter of Intent is approved. 

1. Letter of intent

  • Letter with membership fee submitted to WINHEC's BOA Chair.
  • BOA will review at annual general meeting (AGM).
  • If approved, a WINHEC liaison will be assigned to the applicant to support.

2. Eligibility application

  • Application submitted to BOA Chair
  • If approved, candidate conducts self-study.

3. Self-study

  • Self-study submitted to BOA Chair
  • If approved, visitation committee selected & scheduled. 

4. Visitation

  • Visiting Committee presents preliminary findings & recommendations to candidate
  • Submits report to BOA Chair.

5. Approvals

  • At WINHEC AGM the BOA formally recognises the completion of the accreditation process and awards the candidate its accreditation. 
  • To maintain WINHEC accreditation status, membership fees must be paid annually.

Membership fee schedule

When submitting the Letter of Intent, the IOSP (applicant) will also submit the appropriate fee (listed below) as an aligned member.

  • Large aligned member (serving 500+ students: $1000)
  • Small aligned member: (serving 1-499 students: $500)

During the year of the site visit, the candidate submits its Self-Study and a fee of $1,500.

Once the applicant has submitted the fee along with its Letter of Intent, it can begin to work on its Eligibility Application. The annual fee must be paid each year in order to remain eligible for WINHEC accreditation. When the Eligibility Application has been submitted to the WINHEC Board of Accreditation and Affirmation and subsequently been approved to proceed to the Self-Study, the applicant becomes a candidate for accreditation.

To be Accredited by WINHEC, an IOSP must maintain its membership in WINHEC THROUGH THE TERM OF ACCREDITATION. Membership dues must be paid to WINHEC BY JULY 1 of each year. If membership lapses/membership fee is not paid, the IOSP will lose its accreditation status and will be required to reapply and undergo the full WINHEC accreditation process (e.g. Letter of Intent, Eligibility Application, Self-Study, and Approval) to regain accredited status.

 World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium

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