The Accreditation Backstory: An Inside View

The Accreditation Backstory: An Inside View

Accreditation is a voluntary and self-regulatory process by which nongovernmental agencies recognize educational institutions or academic programs that have been found to meet or exceed standards for educational quality. Accreditation assists in the further improvement of an institution or academic program. It indicates to the public: 1) that an institution or academic program has been evaluated and periodically reevaluated by a qualified independent group of peers and 2) the extent to which an institution or academic program demonstrated it meets appropriate educational purposes and standards of educational quality. In the United States, accreditation is the primary way used by the federal government to determine students’ access to federal funds.

Session Objectives
Following this session, participants will be able to:

  • Describe what accreditation is and what an accreditation agency is
  • Explain the USDE recognition process for accrediting agencies
  • Examine current issues in accreditation.


Marsal Stoll

Marsal P. Stoll, EdD, MSN, BSN, began her appointment as Chief Executive Officer at ACEN on Dec. 1, 2014, and is leading the Commission in providing services that are proven to anticipate and be responsive to the needs of nursing education programs throughout the U.S., U.S. territories, and internationally. Prior to joining ACEN, Dr. Stoll was a vice president for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Dr. Stoll was president of Coleman College for Health Sciences, Houston (Texas) Community College, and also served as interim president at Lord Fairfax Community College, (Middletown, Va.). She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from D’Youville College and a Master of Science in Nursing and EdD in Educational Administration from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Dr. Stoll started her career as a registered nurse at Deaconess Hospital (Buffalo, N.Y.). She taught nursing at Niagara County Community College for 10 years before becoming the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, Curriculum Development and Evaluation, at NCCC. From 1999 to 2005, Dr. Stoll was Vice President of Instruction and Student Services at Piedmont Virginia Community College in Charlottesville, Va.