Leah K. Matthews

Executive Director (2013 – Present)

Dr. Leah Matthews began serving as the DEAC Executive Director on April 1, 2013. Dr. Matthews comes to DEAC from her previous position as Vice President for Recognition Services at the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA), the national coordinating organization for higher education accrediting organizations. In that role, she managed the CHEA recognition process for 60 accreditors that provide regional, national and programmatic accreditation. Prior to working with CHEA, Dr. Matthews served nearly 12 years on the staff of the Accrediting Commission for Career Schools and Colleges. Prior to joining ACCSC, Dr. Matthews worked for five years as a civilian based at the U.S. Army Japan Headquarters in Zama, Japan where she directed family support services and education programs for children and youth. Dr. Matthews also taught for several years in the Baltimore City Schools system.

Dr. Matthews frequently speaks on the topic of accreditation and distance education. She served as a non-federal negotiator for the U.S. Department of Education’s 2014 and 2019 Rulemaking Sessions on multiple areas that included distance education and state authorization. Dr. Matthews served on the steering committee and executive council of the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) from 2016-2019; as vice president of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) board of directors from 2018-2020; and as a board member of the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (NC-SARA) from 2016-2021.

Dr. Matthews earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music and Education from Westminster College, New Wilmington, PA; a Master of Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma and a PhD in Higher Education from George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

Listen to Dr. Matthews’ episode of the Accreditation Conversations podcast by Weave Education:

Assessing Far and Wide: The Accreditation of Distance Education (sounder.fm)