Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Academia is losing both its appeal and prestige as declining morale among current and future or prospective academics is being further eroded by several factors. One of these factors is accreditation, which was originally designed and developed to facilitate reputation building through the implementation and application of quality assurance principles and standards across institutions. In any society, the type of political order and social system which exist will certainly affect education as a process and institutional agent. American capitalism as such, has had both desirable and undesirable effects on educational institutions, especially at the level of the university and college or in higher education. Academia has been highly influenced by capitalism in its approach to progress and one of the main factors exerting influence is the concept of self-interest as part of freedom under a democratic system built on a market mechanism where the profit maximization motive holds such strong sway over education, which is a public good. Springing forth from the self-interest and profit motives, private accreditation has grown tremendously as an industry and practice to affect schooling and contribute to the development of what McFarlane (2010a) calls a “School Economy”. The development of the School Economy with the conception of private accreditation is a justifiable argument and expectation because when a public good must receive its stamp of approval and quality management and control from private agencies with private interests and profit motives, then the utilitarian affect which drives collective endeavors becomes easily eroded, especially as competition for common and uncommon resources increases and the ability to make more profits motivates a new industry to strive out of that public good. Such is the case with education and accreditation. Private accreditation creates a chasm between perceived value and actual results and warps the instrumental value that education should hold for individuals and society.