The Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council (AGEC) was established in 2016 and is the only accrediting body for gerontology degree programs. The Accreditation Standards for Gerontology Education put forth by AGEC are informed by the Association for Gerontology in Higher Education (AGHE) Standards and Guidelines for Gerontology and Geriatrics Programs, 6th edition, (2015) that includes the AGHE Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education© (2014).
The AGHE Accreditation Task Force was convened in June 2010 to explore options for the design and implementation of an accreditation organization for gerontology programs in higher education. Through a series of investigations and discussions, the Task Force determined that the accreditation organization for gerontology would have a direct, but independent, relationship with AGHE and the Gerontological Society of America with its board of governors, budget, organizational structure, and 501c3 status. The Task Force drafted Mission and Vision Statements as a guideline for the proposed accreditation organization, “Accreditation for Gerontology Education Council” (AGEC), in August 2010.
Shortly after that, the Task Force began further exploring the accreditation process with accrediting oversight bodies, including the Council of Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and the Department of Education. The Task Force also looked at other models and details associated with accrediting bodies, including the Council of Social Work Education, the American Psychological Association, Council on Education for Public Health. The proposal for pursuing accreditation for gerontology programs was approved by the AGHE Executive Committee and the GSA Executive Council in 2013.
To gain insight into AGHE member institutions’ perspectives on accreditation, and to enlist support from members for developing an accreditation organization, the AGHE Accreditation Task Force sponsored several conference presentations and symposia and surveyed members to gather input on the issue of accreditation from AGHE and GSA membership. Also, to provide a range of views on accreditation for the gerontology community’s intellectual consideration, AGHE’s journal Gerontology and Geriatrics Education devoted a special issue to accreditation in gerontology.
From 2013 to 2014, the AGHE Accreditation Task Force’s focus was on the establishment of the AGHE Gerontology Competencies for Undergraduate and Graduate Education©, which were finalized in November 2014. The Task Force’s Workgroup developed a Handbook that proposes the organizational framework and processes for gerontology program accreditation through the proposed accreditation body, AGEC.
In November of 2016, AGEC was established as an independent 501c3 with the expressed mission of accrediting programs of gerontology in higher education.