Dr. Howard L. Simmons: An Intellectual Biography Of The First Black Executive Director Of The Middle States Regional Accrediting Body
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Type of WorkText
DepartmentHigher Education Program
ProgramDoctor of Philosophy
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There is limited information on changes to accreditation standards and practices, especially related to diversity. The narrow focus of prior studies and the public's limited understanding of accreditation and its criteria have contributed to this gap in the literature. This qualitative study used intellectual biography as its framework to narrate the events surrounding the steps toward changing the face of accreditation and accountability. These events and their impact are presented from the unique perspective of the first Black Executive Director of the Middle States accrediting body<&mdash>--</mdash>Dr. Howard L. Simmons. Interviews with Dr. Simmons as well as two secondary participants served as the primary data sources for this study. Secondary participants and data gathered through secondary sources allowed for triangulation and member checking. A total of 42 codes surfaced from the various participant interviews. Code frequencies along with other data collected throughout the study were analyzed to form themes. A total of five themes emerged: humble beginnings, timing, networking, high expectations, and communication. Results revealed that Simmons was able to overcome adversity in his early childhood and excel in his career. These experiences drove him to seek change in accreditation standards and practices. The result was a higher level of accountability and a voice for underrepresented populations.