Background and Rationale
For some time ASIC has been developing a new level of recognition above Premier accreditation which we have called Platinum. This has been partly in response to requests from our accredited institutions. We have engaged with our institutions in the development process. This included a presentation and feedback session at our conference in Kuala Lumpur in September 2017.
Institutions will recall that Premier status, which will continue to remain an indicator of considerable attainment, is arrived at by achieving the requisite number of commendable evaluations in each qualifying area of operation. In our discussions within the ASIC community, it became clear that there are levels of practice that go beyond commendable, as well as important activities that lie outside the scope of the generally accepted criteria set for the specific purpose of accreditation: obvious examples mentioned include internationalisation, CSR initiatives, or innovation in pedagogy or curriculum design. Areas of work beyond the strict remit of accreditation can have a huge impact on the character and quality of an institution. The Platinum Crowns criteria provide an opportunity to look more widely at what institutions are achieving.
ASIC has been one of many voices lobbying for changes to the methodology and priorities of the various international university and college ranking organisations, so far with very limited success. Thus, it was no surprise that a considerable number of our institutions expressed dissatisfaction with the unbalanced nature of these ranking systems. They have seen the ideas behind the definition of Platinum as a refreshing counterpoint to the never-ending and disproportionate emphasis on reputation and research (often amounting to the same thing) at the heart of the international ranking criteria. There is also some disquiet, although not so marked, with national ranking systems in countries where these exist.
Platinum Crowns present another, sometimes complementary, way of marking institutional excellence.
Originally, it was intended that Platinum status would be open only to universities, and only for on-campus delivery, but accredited institutions felt there should be wary of acquiring it for other providers achieving excellence within the parameters of their own operation.
Thus, Platinum status is a possibility for a wide spectrum of providers. One key condition for applying for Platinum status remains from previous briefings. Institutions that offer programmes leading to degree award titles at any level (e.g. BA, MSc, PhD), by whatever mode of delivery (face-to-face, online, distance education, blended), must either have fully recognised degree-awarding powers within their own country, or must award degrees validated or franchised by institutions that do have such powers. The Platinum kite mark cannot be used to offset the need to complete the process towards such recognition.
It has been decided to award Platinum status with one to five crowns. This allows both for opportunities to reflect truly outstanding achievement but also makes it possible for institutions of varying scope to be considered.
An overall Platinum Crown rating will also be given.