Information Literacy and Accreditation Agencies
Accreditation agencies have lent their support to the information literacy movement by including language in their Standards that stress the importance of teaching these abilities in colleges and universities.
The Commission on Higher Education is the unit of the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities in the Middle States region. It examines the institution as a whole, rather than specific programs within the institution.
Standard 11: Educational Offerings
The following are "Fundamental Elements of Educational Offerings" and also apply to Standard 13, Related Educational Activities. (provided by Richard H. Swain)
"Collaboration between professional library staff and faculty in teaching and fostering information literacy skills relevant to the curriculum" "Programs that support student use of information and learning resources"
(Characteristics..., p. 34)
"Optional Analysis and Evidence" includes "Evidence of information literacy incorporated in the curriculum with syllabi, or other materials appropriate to the mode of teaching and learning, describing expectations for students' demonstration of information literacy skills" "Assessment of information literacy outcomes, including assessment of related learner abilities"
(Characteristics..., p. 35)
Standard 12: General Education
"The institution's curricula are designed so that students acquire and demonstrate college-level proficiency in general education, scientific and quantitative reasoning, critical analysis and reasoning, technological competency, and information literacy. (Characteristics..., p. 37)
Standard Two - Educational Program And Its Effectiveness
Standard Five - Library and Information Resources Library section does not refer to Information Literacy but Standard 5.B.2 states “Library and information resources and services contribute to developing the ability of students, faculty, and staff to use the resources independently and effectively.”
State of Commitment by the Regional Accrediting Associations for the Evaluation of Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs.
The Student Support section (on page 11) of Best Practices for Electronically offered Degree and Certificate Programs includes a listing regarding appropriate resources includes : "Library resources appropriate to the program including reference and research assistance; remote access to databases; online journals and full-text resources; document delivery services; LIBRARY USER AND INFORMATION LITERACY INSTRUCTION; reserve materials; and institutional agreements with local libraries And the next paragraph states: "Training in information literacy including research techniques."
“Through its evaluation activities, carried out by five commissions, the Association provides public assurance about the educational quality of those schools and colleges that seek or wish to maintain membership, which is synonymous with accreditation.”
Standard Four: The Academic Program
4.6 The institution ensures that students use information resources and information technology as an integral part of their education. The institution provides appropriate orientation and training for use of these resources, as well as instruction and support in information literacy and information technology appropriate to the degree level and field of study.
4.18 Graduates successfully completing an undergraduate program demonstrate competence in written and oral communication in English; the ability for scientific and quantitative reasoning, for critical analysis and logical thinking; and the capability for continuing learning, including the skills of information literacy. They also demonstrate knowledge and understanding of scientific, historical, and social phenomena, and a knowledge and appreciation of the aesthetic and ethical dimensions of humankind.
SACS' Principles of Accreditation (2004) include the following items:
3.4.14: The institution's use of technology enhances student learning, is appropriate for meeting the objectives of its programs, and ensures that students have access to and training in the use of technology.
3.6.2: The institution ensures that its graduate instruction and resources foster independent learning, enabling the graduate to contribute to a profession or field of study.
3.8.1: The institution provides facilities, services, and learning/information resources that are appropriate to support its teaching, research, and service mission.
3.8.2: The institution ensures that users have access to regular and timely instruction in the use of the library and other learning/information resources.
3.8.3: The institution provides a sufficient number of qualified staff with appropriate education or experiences in library and/or other learning/information resources to accomplish the mission of the institution.
Information literacy is included in Standard 2.2a of the "Teaching and Learning" section, "[Baccalaureate programs] also ensure the development of core learning abilities and competencies including, but not limited to, college-level written and oral communication; college-level quantitative skills; information literacy; and the habit of critical analysis of data and argument."
Accreditation Bibliography [bibliography in the process of being updated - June 2011]