Higher Learning Commission reaccredits university

Higher Learning Commission reaccredits university
'Seal of approval' for quality, programs, learning experiences at Nebraska

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The Higher Learning Commission's “seal of approval” assures prospective students, parents, employers and other stakeholders that the university offers nationally recognized, quality programs and learning experiences. Accreditation also is required for universities to receive federal funds for student financial aid and research.

The Higher Learning Commission has notified the University of Nebraska-Lincoln that the university has successfully achieved reaccreditation -- a process of external quality review that scrutinizes colleges, universities and education programs for quality assurance and quality improvement.

The “seal of approval” assures prospective students, parents, employers and other stakeholders that the university offers nationally recognized, quality programs and learning experiences.

“We are pleased to receive this very good news. We appreciate the thoroughness, thoughtfulness and engagement of the Higher Learning Commission during this extensive review process,” said Donde Plowman, executive vice chancellor at Nebraska and the university’s chief academic officer.

“The commission recognized that throughout the university there is clear evidence of a drive to continuously improve institutional performance," she said. “These efforts are squarely focused on our mission and strategic priorities of improving the undergraduate experience, increasing research in service to the state and serving Nebraskans.”

The HLC, one of six regional accreditors recognized by the Department of Education, accredits degree-granting post-secondary education institutions in the 19-state North Central region. The university has enjoyed accreditation since 1913 and was last accredited in 2006.

A nine-member HLC team visited the Nebraska campus in October as part of the reaccreditation process. The group, made up of administrators from the Big Ten and other peer institutions, reviewed the university’s ongoing ability to meet its Criteria for Accreditation.

Accreditation also is required for universities to receive federal funds for student financial aid and research.

For nearly two years, broad participation by various university groups guided the university’s reaccreditation process. In early 2015, about 80 faculty, staff and students began drafting the Assurance Argument -- a written report that demonstrates how the university is meeting the commission's accreditation criteria.

The document addressed the university's work in its mission, ethical conduct, teaching and learning practices, and institutional resources and planning.

“I very much appreciate the work of (acting dean of Graduate Studies) Laurie Bellows, who led and coordinated the efforts of the university’s HLC Leadership Team that worked tirelessly for months to ensure reaccreditation, as well as everyone across the university who contributed to this process,” Plowman said.

Various university groups also provided feedback on the university’s submission and attended campus conversations to learn more about key themes of the argument. In April, students gave input to the commission via an online survey and the public was invited to provide comments directly to the commission from July to September.

The reviewers examined the university's federal compliance filing as well as the Quality Initiative and the Assurance Argument, and have looked at internal documents such as college strategic plans, the university's mission statement, the State of the University address and annual reports in preparation for their visit.

More information on reaccreditation can be found here.