Internal influential factors affecting accreditation processes in small universities: A conceptual framework based on the case of Curaçao

The University of Curaçao (UoC) is a relatively small Dutch-Caribbean university located in the SIDS region. The university started its accreditation processes about a decade ago. After years of thorough preparation, UoC succeeded in its first attempt to obtain accredited status for all the submitted programmes. As of 2009, I performed a comparative analysis, based partly on participative observation, which resulted in a PhD dissertation (Isabella, 2014). This paper presents part of the results of this study, aiming to identify the internal influential factors (enablers and barriers) affecting the progress and outcomes of accreditation processes. In this paper, following on the empirical findings, I present the conceptualized heuristic framework consisting of internal influential factors affecting the progress and outcomes of accreditation processes. This framework can generically be used by small universities, in particular those located in less developed global regions. It may be used not only as a descriptive and prescriptive instrument, but also as an analytical tool for the design, implementation, and monitoring of accreditation processes. As such, it facilitates progress and hence makes the achievement of a successful result more feasible. The UoC case study is presented to illustrate how it has managed the great challenges (internal influential factors) encountered during its accreditation processes in order to obtain positive accreditation results. The two key components that the study has shown to be critical for a positive outcome are detailed, i.e., dedicated efforts at the institutional level and high commitment at faculty level.
Paper presented at the Regional Conference on Institutionalising Best Practice in Higher Education, UWI, St. Augustine, Trinidad and Tobago, 24-26 June, 2015.
Centre for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, UWI; Quality Assurance Unit, UWI
Table of Contents
Universities, Accreditation, Size of enterprise, University of Curaçao