U.S. committee recommends 3-year recognition of chiropractic education accrediting body
By Canadian Chiropractor staffNews
December 13, 2013 — The federal panel charged to advise the U.S. Secretary of Education on recognition of accrediting bodies within higher education voted yesterday to recommend a three-year extension of the Council on Chiropractic Education's (CCE) federal recognition.
Following more than four hours of sometimes intense testimony and
questioning before the National Advisory Committee on Institutional
Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) of the U.S. Department of Education, a
motion to recommend the extension of recognition to CCE for three years
was passed — but with three dissenting votes from committee members who
were not satisfied the chiropractic profession's sole accrediting body
merited such a window.
ICA was officially represented at these
proceedings by the organization's president, Dr. Michael S. McLean, who
stated in oral testimony that the ICA still had serious concerns with
CCE, especially their governance, but based on a public commitment by
CCE's leaders to engage in negotiations to reform governance, ICA
supported the accrediting body's reaffirmation.
The vote was
preceded by numerous expressions of concern on the part of NACIQI
committee members over the many issues that were expressed in both oral
and written testimony, especially issues of fairness and equity in the
CCE's governance structures and processes. A large group of witnesses
were present at yesterday's hearing, including 18 students and more than
a dozen private practitioners. The majority of those speaking expressed
deep and well-documented issues and concerns with CCE's standards,
policies and procedures and highlighted the degree to which division
over the direction of the CCE has come to dominate debate within the
chiropractic profession. A surprising number of committee members
expressed both a grasp of and concerns over the disconnect between a
significant segment of the chiropractic profession and the CCE and,
while it was clearly stated that many of these issues were outside of
the mandate of the NACIQI committee and federal oversight, steps were
clearly needed to reconcile these divisions.
"We believe that the
message to the CCE from these proceedings should be clear; that members
of the NACIQI committee have sent a strong signal of encouragement to
our deeply divided profession to come together in good faith
negotiations to seek to resolve the key issues surrounding the CCE,"
said Dr. McLean. "ICA is committed to pressing forward with such a
process and will hold the CCE accountable to their pledge on governance
The American Chiropractic Association (ACA)
also provided testimony in supper of CCE, noting that it was confident
the CCE has taken the necessary steps to continue its tenure as the
federally recognized accrediting agency for chiropractic colleges.
December 2011, CCE was granted a one-year continuing accreditation — a
standard practice which means the council’s federal recognition was
renewed with the requirement that it provide additional information in
"The decision indicated CCE substantially met
NACIQI’s criteria but needed to address specific issues to be considered
in full compliance. In particular, NACIQI required CCE to improve
communication with its constituents and to demonstrate that its
standards and policies receive wide acceptance in the profession," the
ACA said in a statement.
"Since 2011, CCE has worked with all
stakeholders, large and small, to come into compliance and address the
issues raised two years ago," said ACA chief executive officer James
Potter, who testified at the hearing. "It is a fundamental licensing
requirement of 45 states that qualified applicants must have earned
their DC degree from a chiropractic college accredited by CCE. In the
interest of continuing this vital public safeguard, ACA fully supports
the staff recommendation that the Department of Education continue,
uninterrupted, CCE’s recognition as the accrediting agency for
chiropractic education for the next three years."
recommendation will be sent to the secretary of education for final
action. The NACIQI committee serves only as an advisory body and the
final decision is in the education secretary's hands.
ICA said it
will be providing an in-depth analysis of the NACIQI process and the
hearing, as part of the association's on-going effort to keep its
members and the profession at-large informed on the status of the many
issues surrounding the CCE and the future of chiropractic education.
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