Policy Title: Criteria for Accreditation

DETC’s Board of Trustees considers clarifying modifications to the Criteria for Accreditation and the Assumed Practices annually, usually with first reading in February and second reading in June.


This publication includes the new Criteria language, a crosswalk between the current and revised Criteria, an updated glossary of Criteria terminology, and an overview of how the Criteria will be updated in the Assurance System.


Criteria for Accreditation: Policy Change Adopted on Second Reading

This document shows the changes that were made to the current Criteria in the revised version.


The Criteria for Accreditation are the standards of quality by which the Commission determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation. They are as follows:


Criterion 1. Mission

The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.


Core Components

1.A. The institution’s mission is broadly understood within the institution and guides its operations.


The mission statement is developed through a process suited to the nature and culture of the institution and is adopted by the governing board.The institution’s academic programs, student support services, and enrollment profile are consistent with its stated mission.The institution’s planning and budgeting priorities align with and support the mission. (This sub-component may be addressed by reference to the response to Criterion 5.C.1.)

1.B. The mission is articulated publicly.


The institution clearly articulates its mission through one or more public documents, such as statements of purpose, vision, values, goals, plans, or institutional priorities.The mission document or documents are current and explain the extent of the institution’s emphasis on the various aspects of its mission, such as instruction, scholarship, research, application of research, creative works, clinical service, public service, economic development, and religious or cultural purpose.


The mission document or documents identify the nature, scope, and intended constituents of the higher education programs and services the institution provides.

1.C. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.


The institution addresses its role in a multicultural society.

The institution’s processes and activities reflect attention to human diversity as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.


1.D. The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.


Actions and decisions reflect an understanding that in its educational role the institution serves the public, not solely the institution, and thus entails a public obligation.The institution’s educational responsibilities take primacy over other purposes, such as generating financial returns for investors, contributing to a related or parent organization, or supporting external interests.


The institution engages with its identified external constituencies and communities of interest and responds to their needs as its mission and capacity allow.

Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.


Core Components

2.A. The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.


2.B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships.


2.C. The governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity.


The governing board’s deliberations reflect priorities to preserve and enhance the institution.

The governing board reviews and considers the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution’s internal and external constituencies during its decision-making deliberations.


The governing board preserves its independence from undue influence on the part of donors, elected officials, ownership interests, or other external parties when such influence would not be in the best interest of the institution.


The governing board delegates day-to-day management of the institution to the administration and expects the faculty to oversee academic matters.


2.D. The institution is committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.


2.E. The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, students, and staff.


The institution provides effective oversight and support services to ensure the integrity of research and scholarly practice conducted by its faculty, staff, and students. Students are offered guidance in the ethical use of information resources.


The institution has and enforces policies on academic honesty and integrity.

Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.