FORT KNOX, Ky. –
The U.S. Army Recruiting and Retention College received professional accreditation in this month from the Council on Occupational Education after an 18-monthlong self-study and assessment.
The RRC pursued the COE accreditation in an effort to increase its academic distinction as a member of a recognized civilian accrediting body. The COE has a 48-year history of accrediting occupational programs and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as a reliable authority in determining institutional quality for post-secondary occupational education programs. The COE currently accredits about 550 post-secondary institutions with about 44 of those being federal institutions.
COE accreditation does not replace the required institutional Training and Doctrine Command accreditation, but it does enhance it with an independent evaluation by a non-biased third party. The TRADOC Quality Assurance Office has a Memorandum of Understanding with the COE to encourage and support Army training and education institutions to pursue this additional accreditation. It also serves as informal civilian oversight of the RRC’s practices.
The RRC researched several civilian accrediting bodies before selecting the COE and beginning the accreditation process in November 2018. The RRC then wrote the letter of intent seeking accreditation.
In the summer and fall of 2019 the RRC dean and quality assurance staff participated in two workshops with the Council of Occupational education to clarify what the expectations were to achieve accreditation. After the initial workshop, COE representatives visited the RRC to verify the institution met the eligibility requirements to become a candidate for accreditation. In September 2019 the COE governing body confirmed the RRC as a candidate for accreditation, enabling the RRC to send representatives to a second workshop in the fall of 2019.
After these workshops, the dean and quality assurance team communicated COE requirements to key stakeholders at the RRC. Achieving COE accreditation required a comprehensive self-assessment of the RRC against standards applied to post-secondary occupational education programs.
The RRC’s team of noncommissioned officers, officers and civilians came together to build the case for the RRC’s accreditation. The process required providing and making available documented proof of every statement RRC personnel made regarding meeting accreditation requirements. The result was a comprehensive, 86-page self-study summarizing how the RRC met accreditation standards, augmented by corresponding artifacts and exhibits proving everything in the self-study. The RRC team produced more than 300 artifacts for the COE evaluators across 10 accreditation standards.
Certified COE evaluators assessed the RRC’s practices in the fall of 2020. This team conducted a thorough assessment of the RRC based on current standards and the self-study, and recommended the RRC for accreditation
The COE Commission confirmed the RRC’s accreditation in a meeting held March 4-5. The RRC received the longest period of accreditation: six years. Institutions pursuing their initial accreditation often receive only two- or four-year accreditations. The RRC will renew its accreditation in 2026, but has to meet annual requirements to remain in good standing.
Some of the federal organizations accredited by COE include Defense Acquisition University, Army Logistics University, Army Medical Department and School, The Defense Information School, Human Intelligence Joint Center of Excellence, and the Army Ordinance Center and School.
The RRC is accredited by the Army Quality Assurance Office, which is part of TRADOC, and now the COE, which is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education as an accrediting body. Faculty and students are able to reach out to both organizations for inquiries regarding the institutional accreditation of the RRC.
Faculty and students wishing to make comments to Army QAO should send inquires to the Army QA Program director, Dr. John Plifka.
Faculty and students wishing to make comments to COE can write to the COE executive director at:
7840 Roswell Road, Bldg. 300, Suite 325
Atlanta, Ga. 30350
An additional option is to submit comments through the Council’s web site (www.council.org). Those making comments must provide names and mailing addresses.