Kim Levey


Changing policies from the Department of Education and, subsequently, regional accreditor impact how institutions of higher education enact and implement processes and procedures (Beattie, Thornton, Laden, & Brackett, 2013). In today's environment, policy changes are occurring as policy-makers are reacting to pressure from taxpayers and critics alike as a result of decreasing international rankings and evidence of financial aid fraud at some institutions (Hartle, 2012). With efforts to reauthorize the Higher Education Act in addition to changes to federal law through negotiated rule-making, it is becoming increasingly more imperative that institutions of higher education become adaptable, as changes in the policies that govern how institutions operate continually shifts to account for the rise in technology, amplified public scrutiny, and growing student loan debt. This qualitative, phenomenological research study investigated institutions of higher education to explore how they exercised strategies to operationalize changes needed as a result of change sin accreditation policy, what challenges in implementing changes in accreditation policy they encountered, how they evaluated the success of operationalized changes in practices and policies, and what recommendations they had for future implementation of accreditation policy changes. Eight Accreditation Liaison Officers in the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) region, representing multiple institution types and sizes, were interviewed using a semi-structured protocol to determine the strategies, challenges, and evaluation methods used at their institution to operationalize three recently changed WSCUC policies. Furthermore, participants shared their recommendations for future implementation of accreditation policy. The 18 themes that emerged in the findings of this study contribute to higher education, organizational change, and policy impact scholarly fields.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; Education, Higher -- Accreditation -- Case studies; Accreditation (Education)

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Harvey, Andrew;