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According to the National Association of Schools of Dance (NASD), “accreditation is a process by which an institution or disciplinary unit within an institution periodically evaluates its work and seeks an independent judgment by peers that it achieves substantially its own educational objectives and meets the established standards of the body from which it seeks accreditation. Typically, the accreditation process includes 1) a self-evaluative description (self-study) of the institution or unit, 2) an on-site review by a team of evaluators, and 3) judgment by an accreditation decision-making body, normally called a Commission. Accreditation reviews focus on educational quality, institutional integrity, and educational improvements.”

“Accreditation is a non-governmental system of academic review. It is a process which periodically evaluates and produces an independent judgment by peers about the extent to which an institution or program achieves its own educational objectives and meets the standards established by an Association. Standards address operational and curricular issues fundamental to educational quality.

The granting of accredited Membership by the accreditation Commission signifies that an institution has successfully demonstrated compliance with the procedures, standards, and guidelines of the Association. Integral to this voluntary process is ongoing, regularized self-evaluation and peer review.

Accreditation, in practical terms, is a stamp of approval, a sign that an institution ascribes to, believes in, and has met an external set of basic criteria for the programs it offers. In some cases, accreditation assists in the transfer of credits from one institution to another. In all cases, it indicates that threshold standards are adhered to in a fashion that provides a base of academic strength and operational integrity.”

“The major responsibility of the National Association of Schools of Dance is the accreditation of education programs in dance, including the establishment of curricular standards and guidelines for specific degrees and credentials.

The Association also provides counsel and assistance to established and developing institutions and programs. NASD is recognized by the United States Department of Education as the agency responsible for the accreditation of all dance curricula.

In addition to the accreditation and consultation functions of the Association, NASD publishes books and reports, holds an annual meeting and other forums, and provides information to the general public about educational programs in dance.”

NASD is one of four specialized arts accrediting agencies. Music, art and design, and theatre programs have their own discipline-specific agencies, which can be accessed through Arts-Accredit. NASD was founded in 1981 and offers both individual and institutional memberships. It supports dance and dance-related disciplines providing resources “to potential students and parents, consultations, statistical information, professional development; and policy analysis.”

Additional Accredidation Links

Accreditation is available to “schools and programs providing non-degree instruction in the arts disciplines to children, youth, and adults” through the Accrediting Commission for Community and Precollegiate Arts Schools (ACCPAS).

NASD is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA). This organization offers a “performance-based system of accreditation” for teacher preparation programs.

The Council on Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) is “national advocate and institutional voice for self-regulation of academic quality through accreditation.” “NASD is recognized by CHEA as the institutional and specialized accrediting body for the field of dance.”

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