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May 3, 2007

Accreditation Concerns Remain for Gallaudet

From: Washington Post - Washington,DC,USA - May 3, 2007

By Susan Kinzie
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 3, 2007; Page B03

Gallaudet University's accreditation is still at risk months after protests shut down the campus in Northeast Washington for several days in the fall. An accreditation team visiting this week noted that progress has been made under the new administration but that serious concerns remain, according to President Robert Davila.

The school has until November 2008 to achieve compliance, Davila said.

Davila took office in January with enormous challenges: He came to a school paralyzed by protests over the woman who had been named the next president. Now, as teams of professors and administrators work together on plans to quickly improve the chronically low graduation rates, enrollment issues and ways of measuring student progress, the school is under scrutiny from several agencies at once.

The NCAA is investigating a complaint about a grade change for a student athlete, Davila said.

In recent days, officials from the Department of Education were on campus, too, following up on an Office of Management and Budget report last year that rated the program "ineffective." This year, that assessment was improved some, but Davila said they are not yet satisfied.

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education team told school officials that the school is moving forward, with improved relations on campus and better communications, but that "Gallaudet has not produced compelling evidence that the university is in full compliance with commission standards" for accreditation, Davila told the campus community yesterday.

Late last year, the commission postponed a decision on accreditation, questioning whether Gallaudet was meeting standards on integrity, mission, leadership, admissions, educational offerings, retention and assessments. The school remains accredited.

An exit report will be sent to Davila within days, he said. The team makes a report to the commission in June. Messages left at the Middle States office were not returned.

© 2007 The Washington Post Company