MSCHE Welcomes Kurdistan Ministry of Higher Education Delegation
Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) President Dr. Heather F. Perfetti, along with a number of key MSCHE staff, welcomed a delegation from the Kurdistan Ministry of Higher Education on October 3, 2022, in Philadelphia. Dr. Perfetti and MSCHE Vice President for Institutional Field Relations Dr. Kushnood Haq have been working with The American University of Kurdistan and KAAE Representative Dr. Honar Issa to identify potential contributions of MSCHE in partnership with the newly formed Kurdistan Accrediting Association for Education (KAAE) supported by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The delegation from KRG included Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research Dr. Aram Qadir, Senior Advisor to the Minister of Higher Education Dr. Amanj Saeed, Director of Academic and Public Affairs of KRG in Washington, D.C., Mr. Delovan Barwari, Dr. Honar Issa, and Kurdish Ambassador to the United States Mrs. Bayan Abdulrahman. The delegation traveled to Philadelphia after meeting with representatives from the United States State Department and the United States Department of Education. The delegation also visited Georgetown University, a member institution of MSCHE; the Loudoun County public school system in Virginia; and the Iraqi Embassy in Washington.
“We need your help and support for the newly established accreditation body in the Kurdistan region, and we are planning to develop it based on United States standards,” Dr. Qadir said. “I am here today as the minister of higher education to sincerely request your assistance and support.”
MSCHE staff joining Dr. Perfetti included Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Dr. Stephen Pugliese, Senior Vice President for Accreditation Relations Dr. Ellie Fogarty, Senior Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel Dr. Tracey Schneider, Lead Vice President for Institutional Field Relations Dr. Idna Corbett, Dr. Kushnood Haq, Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Ms. Kathie Jeffries, Senior Director for Communications and Events Mr. Brian Kirschner, and Senior Director for Technology Services Mr. Christian Slater.
“We are truly excited about the opportunity to become a partner to all of you, particularly around quality assurance,” said Dr. Perfetti. “You have come to the right agency in the United States to help you in the development of a peer-evaluator-based accreditation process.”
MSCHE had the opportunity to discuss ways in which the Commission could support KAAE while highlighting its mission, vision, and values and strategic priorities, including the focus on data informed decision making. Discussion also focused on MSCHE’s strong commitment to quality assurance through standards and the reliance on experienced and well-trained peer evaluators to conduct the work of accreditation.
MSCHE also spotlighted its global footprint and highlighted experiences with accrediting international institutions and operating worldwide. MSCHE has offered consultancy services to KAAE and intends to share its expertise surrounding all aspects of accreditation while collaborating with KAAE through this partnership.
Currently, accreditation in the KRG is overseen by the government. As a sign of commitment to building a stronger higher education system, the Kurdistan Council of Ministers voted on and approved a draft bill on May 11, 2022, to establish the KAAE with the goal to develop and maintain rigorous standards for the quality of kindergarten through higher education. Dr. Issa explained that KRG has 36 institutions of higher education and approximately 6,000 secondary and elementary schools. The ministry of education is seeking a peer-evaluator-based accreditation model for KAAE like the one used in United States.
The Middle States Association Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS), which has also been in discussions with KAAE to support the development of standards for the secondary and elementary schools, was represented by President and CEO Mr. Christian Talbot, Executive Vice President Dr. Glen R. Mort, and President Emeritus Dr. Hank Cram.
At the end of the meeting, Dr. Qadir said: “We look forward to working with you and developing a unique model of accreditation.”
Categories: Accreditation, Advocacy, MSCHE Staff