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Statement on Accreditation and Academic Freedom

For Release: November 20, 2012
For more information, please contact
Anita Levy (AAUP) or Tim Willard (CHEA)


The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) have released an advisory statement on Accreditation and Academic Freedom.

“This advisory statement addresses the role that accreditation plays in sustaining and enhancing academic freedom in the context of review of institutions and programs for quality,” said CHEA President Judith Eaton. “It is a response to concerns that academic freedom is increasingly challenged in today’s environment and that accreditation can play an even more helpful role in meeting this challenge.”

AAUP Senior Program Officer Anita Levy noted “This effort emerged from a desire to reaffirm the importance of academic freedom and its central role in the success of colleges and universities and the work of faculty. The advisory statement is designed to stimulate discussion of academic freedom among institutions, faculty and accrediting organizations.”

In early 2012, CHEA and AAUP agreed to work together to address the issue of academic freedom and the role of accreditation. CHEA and AAUP brought together a small of accrediting organizations, members of the AAUP Committee on Accreditation and others to develop an advisory statement.

The advisory statement has been approved both by the CHEA Board of Directors and the AAUP Committee on Accreditation. The statement provides guidance to CHEA institutional members, recognized accrediting organizations and AAUP members. 

For further information, see AAUP’s 1940 Statement on Academic Freedom and Tenure and The Role of Faculty in the Accrediting of Colleges and Universities (.pdf) , and CHEA publications The Condition of Accreditation: U.S. Accreditation in 2011 (.pdf)  and The Value of Accreditation.

The American Association of University Professors is a nonprofit charitable and educational organization that promotes academic freedom and shared governance, and defines fundamental professional values and standards for higher education. The AAUP has approximately 48,000 members at colleges and universities throughout the United States.

A national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation, CHEA is an association of approximately 3,000 degree-granting colleges and universities and recognizes 60 institutional and programmatic accrediting organizations. CHEA is the only national association focused exclusively on higher education accreditation.

Media Contact: 
Anita Levy
Publication Date: 
Tuesday, November 20, 2012