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The effects of regulations on mobile students

Lucas Kavlie (lucas.kavlie@wgu.edu) is Vice President of Compliance & Accreditation at Western Governors University, based in Salt Lake City, Utah.

To be an effective compliance professional in higher education, one must be prepared for Sisyphean tasks. Most colleges and universities are subjected to the authorization laws and regulations of the home state (i.e., the state in which the main campus is located), standards of the regional and/or national accreditation agency, criteria of multiple programmatic accreditation agencies, and a plethora of other requirements that must demonstrably be met for continued existence.

Sisyphean tasks are those which are repetitive and rarely — if ever — able to be completed. It is important to contrast a Sisyphean task with the folksy definition of insanity (i.e., repeating a task while expecting a different result). Completion of annual reports, ad hoc requests, decennial reaffirmation processes (often including site visits), or indicator-based program reviews are recurrent demands on the time of compliance professionals in higher education. Monitoring and reporting Clery Act or Title IX cases add variety to the work, but much of the overall labor is Sisyphean.

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