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 Tuesday, Feb. 9, 2010 IssueFaculty/Staff E-Newsletter


Re-accreditation: A time for assessment and aspiration
by Allison Sylvest, University Communications

Re-accreditation is more than a formalized process to insure institutional credibility; it’s an opportunity to assess our strengths and goals as a university.

Since 1913, CU-Boulder has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The re-accreditation process takes place every 10 years and requires a comprehensive evaluation of our programs, policies and practices by a team of educational peers. At the end of this month, Feb. 22-24, the 14-member team will visit our campus to review the university as a whole and provide recommendations for continued improvement.

What should you expect from this visit?

“In the two-and-a-half day visit, approximately 30 meetings with site team members will take place,” said Mary Jo White, senior advisor to the chancellor and project coordinator. “There will be some large group meetings with all site team members, but most meetings will be with small groups, focused on one of the five criteria for HLC/NCA accreditation.”

The HLC/NCA evaluates the university in terms of its mission and the agency’s standards or criteria. It assesses formal educational activities, governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies.

The HLC/NCA Accreditation Criteria

CRITERION 1: Mission and Integrity
The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students.

CRITERION 2: Preparing for the Future
The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

CRITERION 3: Student Learning and Effective Teaching
The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.

CRITERION 4: Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.

CRITERION 5: Engagement and Service
As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.

“Within each criterion are components that were used to gather names of suggested CU-Boulder community members for the site team members to choose from to attend the smaller, focused meetings,” said White. “Invitees are able to address these components from their professional work and areas of expertise. Participants include vice chancellors, department chairs, and faculty who are focused on key initiatives.”

In addition to the structured meetings, the site team will hold four open forums on Monday, Feb. 22 from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in the UMC. Separate forums for faculty, staff, students, and alumni and external constituents will offer the opportunity to address the site team. The locations for each forum are in the sidebar of this article. The process is a unique opportunity for focused introspection about CU-Boulder’s strengths and challenges, and a chance to gain feedback from the consultant-evaluator team. The team will also help advance the university by providing advice and advocacy relevant to its future challenges.

There are many materials that can give you a clearer picture of the process, what we hope to learn and how it will help to guide our goals for advancement and excellence into the future. The CU-Boulder accreditation website includes links to the self study report; a briefing document that supplies an explanation of the re-accreditation process; and a PDF of the presentation to the steering committee.

The detailed Self Study Report is intended to assist the site team, and summarizes the findings of CU-Boulder’s self-study evaluation process. It is organized according to the five criteria established by the HLC/NCA. The report also poses questions about the university’s future and was informed, in large part, by Flagship 2030, the long term strategic plan to redefine how we teach, discover and share knowledge for the benefit of Colorado, the nation and the world.



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