The University College of the Cayman Islands will find out within a month whether it has gained the right to become an accredited institution for the first time.
An inspector from the U.K.-based Accreditation Service for International Schools, Colleges and Universities has been on site for the past two days.
Lee Hammond, of the organization, said his inspection covered everything from health and safety standards to the type of qualifications delivered at the institution.
J.D. Mosley Matchett, dean of graduate studies and professional development at the university college, said accreditation would provide external validation of the work being done at the college.
She added, “It would be a major step in the maturation of UCCI.”
She said it would help facilitate international exchange between similarly accredited colleges overseas and add credibility to UCCI.
Mr. Hammond met with faculty, students and administrators at UCCI and sat in on lectures on Monday and Tuesday this week.
He is also looking at data from the college and the kinds of career prospects enjoyed by its graduates.
He will prepare a report on his visit for review by the accrediting organization’s board and alert the university within four weeks if its application has been successful.
ASIC is an accreditation body for private colleges offering academic, technical and vocational training. The organization has accredited schools all over the world, including in the U.S., India, Malaysia and Botswana, as well as more than 100 private colleges in the U.K.
Mr. Hammond said accreditation is used by the schools for marketing purposes, as well as to bolster credibility.
He said, “The accreditation is for the institution as a whole. It doesn’t validate courses or confer the right to give degrees. We do look at the qualifications offered but they need to be approved or accredited independently.”
Ms. Mosley Matchett said many of the institution’s various courses were accredited through external organizations.
The nursing program, for example, is accredited through the Nursing Council of Jamaica.
UCCI is also in the process of seeking accreditation from the U.S.-based International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education for its business programs.
Roy Bodden, president of UCCI, said, “While our students are accepted in colleges and universities all over North America and increasingly now in the United Kingdom, we at UCCI realize that accreditation carries merits, advantages and prestige beyond what is currently available to the institution.
“Accreditation is a meticulous and rigorous process. Nevertheless, I am confident that the University College will perform creditably on this, its first attempt.”
Despite the absence of accreditation to this point, Mr. Bodden said it was “beyond dispute” that UCCI had demonstrated its ability to prepare students for the world of work.
He said accreditation with ASIC would provide further proof that UCCI was providing internationally benchmarked education to its students.