2006-07 Negotiated Rulemaking for Higher Education
Accreditation Team Organizational Protocols

I. Mission Statement

The U.S. Department of Education has established this negotiated rulemaking committee to develop proposed student financial assistance regulations pursuant to Sec. 492 of the Higher Education Act of 1965, as amended (HEA).

II. Participation

  1. The committee consists of the following members:

    Negotiator Alternate
    Elise Scanlon
    Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges of Technology
    Roger Williams
    Accrediting Council for Continuing Education and Training
    Steve Crow
    Higher Learning Commission, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools
    Ralph Wolff
    Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities, Western Association of Schools and Colleges
    Betty Horton
    Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors
    Susan Zlotlow
    American Psychological Association
    James McCormick
    Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
    Stephen Reno
    University System of New Hampshire
    Geri Malandra
    University of Texas System
    Keith Boyum
    California State University, Office of the Chancellor
    Gerrit Gong
    Brigham Young University
    Don LeDuc
    The Thomas M. Cooley Law School
    Craig Swenson
    Western Governors University
    Mark Pelesh
    Coalition for an American Competitive Workforce
    Tom Corts
    The Alabama College System
    Elaine Copeland
    Clinton Junior College
    Thelma Thompson
    University of Maryland, Eastern Shore
    Paula Peinovich
    Walden University
    Ronald Blumenthal
    Kaplan University
    Judith Eaton
    Council for Higher Education Accreditation
    John Dew
    American Society for Quality
    Brent Rubin
    Center for Organizational Development and Leadership, Rutgers University
    Vickie Schray
    U.S. Department of Education
  2. The member will participate for the purpose of determining consensus. The first alternate will participate for the purpose of determining consensus in the absence of the member. Either the member or an alternate may speak during the negotiations.

  3. With approval by a consensus of the committee, individuals, including specialists, who are invited by a member, may participate in committee meetings as needed and appropriate, but are not members of the committee.

  4. The committee may add members. Requests for membership must be approved by a consensus of the committee under such conditions as the committee establishes at the time. New members may begin to participate immediately upon admission to membership.

III. Decision Making

The committee will operate by consensus, meaning that there must be no dissent by any member in order for the committee to be considered to have reached agreement. Thus, no member can be outvoted. Members should not block or withhold consensus unless they have serious reservations about the approach or solution that is proposed for consensus. Absence will be equivalent to not dissenting. All consensus agreements reached during the negotiations will be assumed to be tentative agreements until members of the committee reach final agreement on regulatory language. Once final consensus is achieved, committee members may not thereafter withdraw their consensus.

IV. Agreement

  1. The goal of the committee is to develop proposed regulations that reflect a final consensus of the committee. The Department will provide the preamble to the proposed regulations for review and comment prior to publication of the proposed regulations.

  2. If the committee reaches a final consensus on all issues, the Department will use this consensus-based language in its proposed regulations, and committee members will refrain from commenting negatively on the consensus-based regulatory language, except as provided in paragraph IV D.

  3. If the committee reaches a final consensus on some but not all issues, the Department will include the consensus-based language in its proposed regulations, and committee members will refrain from commenting negatively on the consensus-based language, except as provided in paragraph IV D.

  4. The Department will not alter the consensus-based language of its proposed regulations unless the Department reopens the negotiated rulemaking process or provides a written explanation to the committee members why it has decided to depart from that language. That written explanation will contain a detailed statement of the reasons for altering the consensus-based language and will be provided to the committee members sufficiently in advance of the publication of the proposed regulations so as to allow them a real opportunity to express their concerns to the Secretary. If the Department alters consensus-based language, it also will identify the changes made subsequent to consensus in the preamble to the proposed regulations, and committee members may comment positively or negatively on those changes and on other parts of the proposed regulations.

V. Committee Meetings

  1. The facilitator(s) will maintain a clear and reliable record of tentative and final agreements reached during the negotiation process, as well as discussions of preamble language. The draft meeting summaries will be provided to members, who will share them with coalition partners. After review and approval by the committee, this record will be made available to the public.

  2. The Department will make every effort to distribute materials to committee members in a timely fashion. To the extent practicable, the Department will provide members with documents for discussion at committee meetings at least seven days in advance of the meetings.

  3. A caucus for the purpose of consultation may be requested of the facilitator(s) at any time by any member.

  4. The facilitator(s) will be responsible for developing an agenda for all meetings of the committee. This agenda will be developed in consultation with the members of the committee.

  5. All committee meetings, but not caucuses, are open to the public.

VI. Safeguards for Members

  1. Any member may withdraw from the negotiations at any time without prejudice, by notifying the facilitator(s) in writing.

  2. All members shall act in good faith in all aspects of these negotiations.

  3. Contact with the press will generally be limited to discussion of the overall objectives and progress of the negotiations.

VII. Meeting Facilitation

  1. The facilitator(s) will serve at the discretion of the committee, and will be responsible for helping to ensure that the process runs smoothly, developing meeting agendas, preparing and distributing a record of agreements, and helping the parties resolve their differences and achieve consensus on the issues to be addressed by the committee.

  2. The facilitator(s) will be available to facilitate all meetings of the full committee and, to the extent possible, caucuses.

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Last Modified: 02/28/2007