WINHEC Creates Accreditation Plan

Feb 15th, 2004 | By | Category: 15-3: English Only?, Tribal College News

Representatives of the World Indigenous Nations Higher Education Consortium (WINHEC) established their own accreditation body at a meeting in Honolulu in August 2003. The participants also adopted the WINHEC Accreditation Handbook to guide institutions of higher education as they begin the self-study and review process necessary to become accredited by WINHEC Accreditation Authority.

Educators around the world hailed the actions. The consortium was born in August 2002 at a meeting in Kananaskis, Alberta, of representatives of indigenous higher education institutions, including New Zealand, mainland United States, Hawaii, Alaska, and Canada. (See TCJ, Vol. 14, N.2.)

Although it was only one year old, WINHEC had already achieved one of its most important and challenging goals, creating the accreditation body and adopting the handbook. The WINHEC Accreditation handbook is a historic document that can guide any institution or program striving to implement “cultural standards.”

Accreditation performs a number of important functions including validating credibility for the public being served and encouraging maximum education effectiveness. It recognizes educational institutions for performance, integrity, and quality and entitles them to the confidence of the cultural and educational community being served.

The WINHEC accreditation process can apply to either whole institutions or to programs. Accreditation by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority means that an indigenous-serving postsecondary institution/program’s goals are soundly conceived, that its educational and cultural programs have been intelligently devised, and that it merits confidence by the indigenous constituencies being served.

Once deemed to have met the criteria established by the WINHEC Accreditation Authority as outlined in the handbook, candidate institutions and programs become full voting members of the WINHEC Accreditation Authority Board.

A copy of the WINHEC Accreditation Handbook, including sample “cultural standards” that may be considered, can be obtained on the WINHEC web site at or on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network website at Further information may be obtained from Ray Barnhardt by email at or phone at (907) 474-1902.

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