Judith S. Eaton to Retire After 23 Years as CHEA President

Washington, DC – The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) Board of Directors today announced that President Judith S. Eaton is retiring after 23 years, effective early in the academic year 2020-2021.

Dr. Eaton began her tenure as CHEA President in 1997, a short time after the organization was established via a referendum of college and university presidents. Dr. Eaton came to CHEA from her prior position as Chancellor of the Minnesota State System. She informed the CHEA Board of Directors of her retirement plans during 2019.

“Judith joined CHEA just several months after we began operating, building the organization. She has been pivotal in establishing CHEA as a national and international voice for U.S. accreditation and the quality of U.S. higher education. CHEA today is a reflection of Judith’s enormous effort and dedication as well as her enduring commitment to quality higher education to serve students and society,” said Orlando L. Taylor, Chair of the CHEA Board of Directors.

“During the past 23 years, Judith has provided leadership essential to creating CHEA presence and influence in the development of federal policy as this affects accreditation, establishment of effective and challenging scrutiny of U.S. accrediting organizations for quality through CHEA’s nongovernmental recognition reviews and creation of a repository of national research, data and policy analysis on U.S. accreditation. Most recently, CHEA has launched a ‘National Quality Dialogue,’ a much-needed national discussion not only of accreditation but also how higher education will provide leadership in framing future expectations of quality in colleges and universities.”

“CHEA provided a wonderful opportunity, available to few in higher education, to build a new organization,” said Dr. Eaton. “Working with a dedicated board of directors and staff, we have always stood tall for the value, independence and importance of accreditation, always aware of the need for change yet always seeking to preserve the key strengths that have made accreditation and higher education so valuable today: peer review, institutional autonomy and formative evaluation. I am proud of the role we have been able to play.”

The Board of Directors has established a Search Committee under the leadership of Board Chair Taylor that will, working with the full Board, select the next CHEA President.