Conflict of Interest Policy

This policy applies to the entire accrediting process, from the selection of site visit teams through the final deliberations of the Council. The Executive Director of the Council will share this policy with each site team invitee. The Chair of the Accrediting Committee and the President of the Accrediting Council will call attention to the policy at the start of each of their respective meetings.

Every precaution must be taken to ensure that all participants in the accrediting process develop and express objective opinions and make decisions free from self-interest and personal bias. It is essential that the accrediting process be as free as possible from even the appearance of conflict of interest.

Accordingly, members of site visit teams, the Committee and the Council must disqualify themselves from accepting site visit invitations or participating in the discussion of and voting upon accreditation issues in which they have a conflict of interest. The Council’s administrative staff members also must guard against conflicts of interest in all accreditation activities.

The primary responsibility for determining potential conflicts of interest rests with each participant in the accrediting process. Participants who question whether they have a conflict of interest should consult with the President of the Council.

Those with conflicts of interest include, but are not limited to:

  1. graduates of the institution under review;
  2. former employees of that institution;
  3. those who have been consultants to the unit within the past 15 years;
  4. those who have been under consideration for employment as finalists in a search by the unit;
  5. employees of the same education system;
  6. those who have any other relationship with the unit that might cause them to remove themselves from the process.

Committee or Council members whose units are being considered for accreditation or reaccreditation may not vote on those units. Such Committee or Council members must leave the table, but may remain in the room. Such members may not participate during the discussion but may respond to questions when requested to do so by other Committee or Council members.

Committee or Council members who have been a part of a site team for the unit under discussion may not vote on that unit. They must leave the table but may remain in the room and respond to questions from other Committee or Council members. They must not introduce more information into the discussion than is already available from the formal written materials before the Committee or the Council. The purpose here is to create fair and equitable conditions for those units whose site teams may not be represented on the Committee and Council.

Conflict-of-interest challenges will be resolved by the Chair of the Committee and the President of the Council at their respective regular meetings.

This policy refers to the concept of conflict of interest in the context of accreditation decisions. The prohibitions and limitations are not intended to exclude participation and decision-making in other areas, such as policy development and standard setting.