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1 DETC ACCREDITING COMMISSION th Street, NW, Suite 2 Washington, D.C (202) ; fax (202) July 15, 2013 David A. Longanecker President Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education 3035 Center Green Drive, Suite 200 Boulder, CO RE: Letter Nominating Dr. Leah K. Matthews for the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Dear Dr. Longanecker: With the full support of the Distance Education and Training Council Accrediting Commission (DETC), I am pleased to submit the credentials of Dr. Leah K. Matthews for consideration by the selection committee tasked with determining the membership for the Board of the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NCSARA). The Membership Guidelines for the National Council indicate that the selection committee is seeking experience from all sectors within higher education including national accreditation and distance education. Dr. Matthews is exceptionally well suited to be of service to the National Council and contribute her extensive knowledge and expertise in these areas. On April 1, 2013, Dr. Matthews became the seventh Executive Director of the DETC, a non- profit 501(c)(6) educational association located in Washington, D.C. The DETC s Accrediting Commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). DETC was founded in 1926 to promote sound educational standards and ethical business practices in distance learning. With its 87 years of history and its highly regarded accreditation process, the DETC Accrediting Commission currently accredits 110 distance education institutions offering associate through professional doctoral degrees to over 2.5 million students. Dr. Matthews background and experience in higher education accreditation and policy is extensive and includes: Three years as Vice President for Recognition Services at CHEA where she directed the recognition process for sixty accreditors that provide regional, national and programmatic accreditation throughout the U.S. system of higher education and worked with higher education associations to address accountability, student achievement, transparency and other accreditation- related issues; Twelve years of experience in a senior leadership position at a nationally- recognized accrediting organization, the Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges, overseeing accreditation processes for approximately 750 post- secondary career and technical institutions; A total of twenty years of experience working within many areas of higher education: accreditation for public, private non- profit, and private- for profit higher education institutions; state and federal higher The Distance Education and Training Council (DETC) is a nationally recognized, non-profit accrediting association of distance education institutions.

2 Page 2 of 2 education authorities; higher education associations; and post- secondary education programs for military service members and family members; and teaching. The DETC Accrediting Commission has carefully followed the work of the Commission on the Regulation of Postsecondary Distance Education and I am familiar with the April 2013 report Advancing Access through Regulatory Reform: Findings, Principles, and Recommendations for the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA). We have every confidence in Dr. Matthews ability to participate fully on the NCSARA as it takes the next important steps to advance the goals of the National Commission and to advocate for the expansion of SARA and its core principles. Her work for DETC is careful and thorough. She is most conscientious and diligent in her preparations for meeting with the DETC Executive Committee and Accrediting Commission. Directing an accrediting organization with large distance learning institutions, such as the DETC, is complex, detailed, political, and takes great skill. Dr. Matthews is extraordinarily able in her ability to address all the dimensions of this process. The combination of her many years of experience in higher education and her record of excellent performance in her profession make her an exceptional candidate for the NCSARA. Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely, Mary Adams Chair Executive Committee of the Distance Education and Training Council

3 From: To: Cc: Subject: Date: Brittingham, Barbara ncsara David Longanecker Nomination for the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement Tuesday, June 25, :00:14 PM Dear David, I am pleased to nominate Dr. Patricia O Brien, Deputy Director of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (CIHE-NEASC), for service on the Board of the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NCSARA). Dr. O Brien has worked for CIHE-NEASC for ten years. As the regional accreditor for the six New England states, CIHE-NEASC accredits over 240 colleges and universities the stakeholder group with which Dr. O Brien is affiliated. Prior to coming to NEASC, Dr. O Brien worked at Bridgewater State University in Massachusetts, first as Director of Institutional Research and Assessment, and later as Associate Vice President for Planning and Assessment. She has been an adjunct faculty member at Harvard University and at Emmanuel College in Boston. She earned her baccalaureate degree in Psychology at Wellesley College and her graduate degrees in Education at Harvard University. Dr. O Brien has many qualifications and experiences that will make her an exceptional member of the NCSARA Board. One of her responsibilities at CIHE-NEASC is to work with institutions seeking to offer distance education programs. She has participated in joint meetings of NEASC and the New England SHEEOs, at which issues of reciprocity and cooperation in New England were discussed. Dr. O Brien was a member of the task force convened by the Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) that developed a set of guidelines for the evaluation of distance education programs that is used by all of the regional accrediting associations in the United States; she was one of two principal co-authors of the statement. She has given presentations on accreditors' expectations regarding distance education at meetings of the National University Telecommunications Network, Mass Colleges Online, and WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). She is author of Accreditation: Assuring Quality and Fostering Improvement published in Third Edition of the Handbook of Distance Education (Michael Grahame Moore, editor) and editor of Accreditation: Assuring and Enhancing Quality, published as part of the New Directions for Higher Education series in Spring Pat is clear in her communication, understands higher education and distance education, and values the type of collaboration that can make SARA an effective instrument of contemporary state cooperation. I recommend her without reservation. Sincerely, Barbara Barbara Brittingham Director/President Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, NEASC Direct:

4 July 3, 2013 David A. Longanecker President, WICHE Dear President Longanecker: Please accept this nomination of Karen L. Solinski for membership on the Board of the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (NCSARA). I attach a brief biography. Karen Solinski has served the Higher Learning Commission for many years under various titles. Her current title, Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs, best describes the scope of her responsibilities. A lawyer by training and a political watcher by avocation, Karen is deeply versed in the complexity and minutiae of governmental regulation. She has managed for years our relationship with the U.S. Department of Education and participated as an advisor in several rounds of negotiated rule-making with the Department. The depth of her understanding of the accreditation process and its bases in policy, law and regulation is, I would hazard to assert, without peer. As important to her service on NCSARA would be her work with the SHEEOs of our region. She has led our establishment of ongoing connections with the 19 states for which we are the regional accreditor; in doing so she has been exposed directly to the great diversity of regulatory frameworks and environments among our states. She has attended and offered presentations at meetings of SHEEO. As the lead person for policy and regulatory affairs for the largest of the regional accreditors, Karen has experience with institutions ranging from tribal colleges and small faith-based institutions to major corporate education providers, from community colleges to public and private research universities. She understands the range of institutional needs, and aspirations, that a reciprocity agreement might serve. Last, let me add that Karen is a pleasure to work with. She is reliable, dependable, incisive, and collegial. Please feel free to ask should there be any further information I can provide. Sincerely, Sylvia Manning, President

5 Karen L. Solinski, Brief Bio contact information: Karen Solinski is Vice President for Legal and Governmental Affairs at the Higher Learning Commission. The Commission is the regional accreditor for institutions in the nineteen states of the north central region of the United States and accredits approximately 1000 colleges and universities. Karen handles regulatory affairs for the Commission and in that capacity oversees the Commission s fulfillment of its regulatory responsibilities for the U.S. Department of Education and the Commission s relationship with state higher education agencies and legislative bodies. She also provides leadership for the Commission on policy development and legal affairs. Karen has a background of more than 25 years in regional accreditation. She graduated magna cum laude from the University of Chicago and from DePaul University School of Law and is a member of the Order of the Coif. She has spoken extensively at conferences on topics related to higher education, governance and accreditation and written articles on the development of federal regulations related to recognition of accrediting agencies and higher education.

6 Office of the President July 15, 2013 National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NCSARA) c/o Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education 3035 Center Green Drive, Suite 200 Boulder, CO To Whom It May Concern: I write to nominate Cameron Staples to serve as a member of the National Council on State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements. Cam is the President and CEO of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), one the regional accrediting associations. Prior to assuming his NEASC role, Mr. Staples worked for many years and an attorney for Neubert, Pepe & Monteith, PC and was elected to serve as a state legislator in Connecticut from 1992 to 2010, representing the 96th District, which includes New Haven and Hamden. Staples served as House Chairman of both the Education Committee and the Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. He also served as House Majority Leader. In 2010, he was appointed by the US Senate, and later elected Chair, to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), a committee that advises the Secretary of Education on higher education accreditation and other policy matters. Staples also served as a Commissioner of the Education Commission of the States (ECS), Co-Chairman of the Connecticut International Education Advisory Committee and as member of the Budget and Review Committee of the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Lastly, he also served as Vice-Chairman of the New England Board of Higher Education (NEBHE), one of the four higher education region entities charged with implementing SARA. Mr. Staples can be reached at or at Respectfully, Dr. Michael K. Thomas President & CEO New England Board of Higher Education 45 Temple Place Boston, MA

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