Letter to Students: On Accreditation

by Gordon Drummond | October 1, 2010

Dear Student,

I’m Gordon Drummond, Chief Academic Officer at Sessions College® for Professional Design. Thank you for your interest in our programs. This letter is part of a series on issues relevant to prospective students.

This week’s topic is accreditation. When you’re choosing a college or a program of study, whether it’s online or in a traditional classroom, one very important question to ask is about accreditation—is the school or program accredited?

It’s a smart question because accreditation is an indicator of quality in education. And yet even today there’s a lot of confusion about what accreditation is and how it benefits students.

I’ve been fortunate to learn a lot about accreditation over the last ten years. Sessions College has been accredited since 2001 by the Distance Education and Training Council or DETC, an accrediting agency that is now the premier accreditor for online education. [Update: Since 2014, DETC is now DEAC, the Distance Education Accrediting Commission]

I’ve also been proud to serve since 2006 as a Commissioner on the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools. (Since 2006, Sessions College certificate have been accredited by the Middle States Commission on Secondary Schools.)

So, how does accreditation work? First, it’s important to realize that school accreditation is managed by accrediting agencies who are non-profit, non-governmental organizations established with the goal of promoting quality assurance and continuous improvement in education. The accreditation process is run by educators (not the government), though all major accrediting agencies are approved by the U.S. Department of Education and higher education agencies are recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation or CHEA.

And what does our school accreditation mean to you? Well, it means that as a school Sessions College has committed to continuous and rigorous process of evaluation and improvement. It means that Sessions College regularly undergoes comprehensive assessment by external evaluators who audit every aspect of our business and educational processes.

If you’re a prospective student, the fact that Sessions College is accredited means that:

  • Our programs have been evaluated to make sure their objectives are clear, well-defined, and prepare graduates for professional careers.
  • Our faculty are appropriately trained and qualified and delivering effective instruction.
  • Our courses are regularly updated to reflect changes in industry practices and technology.
  • We are able to demonstrate that our students are achieving the high standards set forth in each program.
  • We are able to demonstrate that graduates have success in entering or expanding their careers as creative professionals. The institution meets industry-wide standards for ethical behavior and good business practices.
  • Employers are more likely to value of the credential and other schools are more likely to accept courses for transfer credit.

Simply put, the accreditation process exists to give you confidence in the quality of a school. And at Sessions College, we’re extremely proud of the role that accreditation has played in helping us grow as an institution from our pioneer days in 1997 to our current status as a college offering degree and certificate programs. If you’re thinking about enrolling in a program, please visit our accreditations page to read a more complete list of our institutional recognitions and affiliations.

Best,

Gordon Drummond
Chief Academic Officer
Sessions College

Gordon Drummond is the President and Academic Director at Sessions College. He's passionate about education and the arts and likes to surround himself with more talented people.

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