April 2022 News from CEA

Message from Ian Collins, 2022 Commission Chair

Greetings from Turkey on behalf of CEA. I’m delighted and honored to serve as 2022 Commission chair. 

CEA’s April Commission meeting was held in person in Alexandria, VA nearby CEA’s office. After two years of meeting primarily in a virtual setting, it was a great pleasure to meet up with colleagues face-to-face after the challenges of the global pandemic. We hope to continue for the rest of the year like this. Notwithstanding the relaxation of many rules previously imposed by the authorities to tackle the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Commission will continue to act prudently, taking a number of safety precautions during meetings and requesting Commissioners to sign an attestation relating to their own good health and vaccination status. The Commission accomplished its planned work, including an annual orientation of the full Commission, an accreditation decision- making session, a professional development session for the Commission, in addition to committee meetings and the range of reports and updates that are delivered in every meeting.

Further below you’ll find a summary of CEA’s work, but I want to especially highlight two items. First, CEA appeared before NACIQI (the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity) in February and was recommended for five years’ continued recognition by the US Secretary of Education. Second, based on work throughout the past two years, CEA has updated and published various foundational documents, including the 2022 Policies and Procedures, 2022 Standards and the 2022 Strategic Plan. You will have seen previous News from CEA articles related to the establishment of the 2020 Scope Task Force, the 2021 Distance Education Task Force, and the work of the Standards Review Committee and the work of the Commission on Strategic Planning. As part of Strategic Planning, CEA’s Mission and Values have been updated.

On a final note, I encourage you to consider service to CEA as a volunteer peer reviewer or as a member of the Commission. Peer reviewer applications are accepted on an ongoing basis, and the 2022 Call for Nominations has been posted and applications are due July 1, 2022. Not only do both activities provide an opportunity to do valuable and challenging work with highly qualified and experienced colleagues, they also represent the best specific professional development opportunities in our field. CEA peer reviewers are professionals from the field who serve as the “eyes and ears” of the Commission during site visits. CEA commissioners have responsibilities in two important areas: as the accreditation decision-making body and as the governing body of CEA as a nonprofit corporation. Commissioner qualifications are outlined in the call, and the current call encourages applicants from single-site or multi-site institutions, those with community college experience or those who have jobs which involve at least 50% teaching-related responsibilities. Having served as a peer reviewer and on the Commission myself, I can personally highly recommend it. We invite you to put yourself forward or encourage others to apply to join us in serving the field and helping CEA achieve its mission.

Ian Collins
2022 Commission Chair

Recent accreditation decisions
The Commission met virtually April 1-3, 2022, to make accreditation decisions and conduct other CEA business. Accreditation decisions are announced on the CEA website under “Recent Decisions” within 30 days of each meeting. In addition, below I’ve provided information about other Commission actions and matters. Please contact Heidi Vellenga, CEA’s Executive Director at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions you may have about the Commission actions, announcements and activities described below.

Meeting reminder: 2022 Constituent Council meeting
The 2022 Constituent Council meeting, CEA’s annual business meeting, will be held virtually on Friday, June 10, 12:00 noon – 1:00 PM Eastern Time. The agenda and connection information will be issued no later than 30 days before the meeting as required by the CEA Policies and Procedures. Section 19 Constituent Council Governing Rules, describe the role of each accredited site’s primary contact.

Reminder: 2022 Call for Nominations
The 2022 Call for Nominations (for service January 2023 – December 2025) has been published and disseminated. CEA is seeking four new volunteers for service on the Commission, and applications are due July 1, 2022. The Call for Nominations is available on the CEA website at http://cea-accredit.org/about-cea/governance/the-commission/call-for-nominations-for-the-cea-commission. If you have questions about Commission service or the application process, please feel free to contact me directly.

Document Updates
Following a comprehensive and detailed review of the Standards which involved, amongst other things, surveying the field, conducting focus groups, and making them available for public comment, a revised version of the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions has been adopted, which will apply to sites that begin the accreditation or reaccreditation process in 2022, or file interim reports in 2024. While the substantive content of the CEA Standards has not been revised, they have been re-ordered and re-structured to be clearer and more user-friendly.

A number of revisions have been made to CEA Policies & Procedures, some of which reflect obligations imposed by USDE regulations. Of particular note is that the 2022 P&P reflects CEA’s new eligibility requirements, which reduce the 8 months/ year to 3 months per year, while an 18 hour/ week curriculum is no longer required for CEA eligibility. Note: 18 hours/ week or 12 credits per term is a requirement for certification by the Student Exchange and Visitor Program (SEVP). 

Small changes have also been made to the Mission, while again not making substantive changes in language, seeks to emphasize CEA’s focus on students. Moreover, the language of the Values document has been improved and a statement valuing diversity added.

Finally, you can see posted on the CEA website a copy of the Strategic Plan for 2021-2025. This reflects more than a year’s work and sets the strategic direction of CEA over the short and medium-term. You will notice that in addition to overarching commitments to being mindful about CEA’s environmental impact and to diversity and access, CEA has four identified four main strategic priorities which it will be working towards over the coming years.

Guidance remains in place
The CEA Statement on COVID-19 remains in place. All sites are required to notify CEA of any changes to aspects of operations as a result of or in response to COVID-19 by sending an email message to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Sites returning to fully in-person courses who have not previously notified CEA should do so. The CEA Policies and Procedures Section 23 Temporary Policy Adaptations allowing for Hybrid Site Visits, Extensions of term of accreditation and Extensions of eligibility remain in place until rescinded or revoked by the Commission.

Please contact staff at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions about this News from CEA. 

December 2021 News from CEA

2021 End of Year Message from Connie Lee, 2021 Commission Chair

As 2021 comes to a close, I’m pleased to report on the work of the Commission throughout this past year. In early December, the Commission held its first in-person meeting in two years during a narrow window of safe travel and in-person gatherings. The in-person December meeting was especially meaningful not only for the opportunity to see our Commission colleagues in person, but also given that many long-term projects were able to be concluded with formal approvals taking place at this meeting. 

Throughout 2021, the Commission reviewed and revised CEA’s mission statement, developed a 4-year strategic plan, approved the Distance Education Task Force to continue its work to guide CEA’s future accreditation activities, and voted to adopt certain changes to the CEA Standards for English Language Programs and Institutions in addition to its regular work of making accreditation decisions, reviewing compliance reports and holding professional development sessions at each meeting. At the December meeting, we also had the opportunity to review and ratify the work of the Nominating Committee and the Policies and Procedures Committee. 

As my year as Chair of the Commission comes to an end, I would like to thank my Commission colleagues for their commitment to serving CEA and providing important non-profit governance duties as well as being the accreditation decision-making body. I would also like to extend special thanks to the competent and capable CEA staff, specialized contractors, and the cadre of volunteer peer reviewers who have stepped up to conduct both in-person and hybrid site visits throughout 2021. All of these individuals’ work and dedication allow CEA to operate as a high-functioning specialized accreditor.

On a personal note, as one of the two elected commissioners who has had the privilege of serving two consecutive terms to ensure continuity during CEA’s executive director transition, I am grateful to have worked closely with CEA’s former and current executive directors, Mary Reeves and Heidi Vellenga. Both are adept at responding flexibly to unanticipated circumstances and have consistently demonstrated exemplary leadership with a calm, balanced and methodical approach. Under such great leadership and with the strong support from the staff, specialized contractors, volunteers, and the Constituent Council members, I’m confident that CEA will continue to promote excellence in the field of English language education.

It’s been a great honor to lead the Commission this year; I am truly humbled by the experience and I am looking forward to serving my final year on the Commission under of the leadership of Ian Collins, 2022 Commission Chair. Having served as a peer reviewer and a commissioner, I have experienced tremendous growth as a professional. I strongly encourage all interested ESL faculty and administrators to stay engaged with CEA and consider applying to serve either as a peer reviewer or on the Commission. I guarantee that it will be one of the most rewarding professional development opportunities that will not only enrich individuals, but also serve their institutions and the field well.

Connie Lee
2021 Commission Chair

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