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C-RAC Announces Leadership Transition

The Council of Regional Accrediting Commissions (C-RAC) today announced Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) President Belle S. Wheelan will serve as chair of the organization effective July 1, 2020. Jamienne S. Studley, president of the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), will serve as vice chair.


Dr. Wheelan, who will serve a two-year term, succeeds Higher Learning Commission President Barbara Gellman-Danley, who had served as chair since 2018. A recognized leader with a distinguished and multi-faceted career in higher education, Dr. Wheelan will lead C-RAC’s efforts to raise awareness of the value of postsecondary accreditation, underscoring the role of quality assurance and peer review in an effective and innovative higher education system.


“I’m honored to serve as chair of C-RAC, particularly as the nation reassesses how to ensure our higher education institutions are serving students and the public well during today’s unusual and challenging circumstances,” Dr. Wheelan said. 


Dr. Wheelan has served as president of SACSCOC for 15 years, leading the accrediting body’s oversight of more than 791 institutions in eleven southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) and several international institutions. She is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity. Dr. Wheelan’s career spans over 40 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president, and Secretary of Education for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Learn more about Dr. Wheelan here.


Studley, who succeeds Middle States Commission on Higher Education President Elizabeth H. Sibolski as vice chair, said, “The accreditors that make up C-RAC have never been more committed to our fundamental responsibilities to students and high-quality education. We will work collaboratively with other leaders and stakeholders to promote effective improvement, innovation, and accountability.”


Studley became president of WSCUC in 2018. The agency accredits 204 public and private institutions with diverse missions in its historic region of California, Hawaii, and the Pacific, and also internationally. She was previously general counsel and later deputy and acting undersecretary of the U.S. Department of Education, chair of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), president of Skidmore College, and president of the civil rights firm Public Advocates. Learn more about Jamienne Studley here.

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