Faculty, staff, students can help gain reaccreditation

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Faculty, staff, students can help gain reaccreditation
September open forums set stage for accreditors’ site visit

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln is entering the home stretch of a three-year effort to reaffirm its accreditation – and it’s asking the entire university community to help bring that effort across the finish line.

This month, the university will host open forums for faculty, staff and students to discuss and learn how they can aid in gaining reaccreditation, which is an assurance that the university meets national standards and that it is continually improving. The forums are in advance of a planned late-October visit by a peer-review team from the Higher Learning Commission, or HLC.

The university has enjoyed accreditation since 1913 and was last accredited for a 10-year term in 2006. More information about the accreditation process, and why it is important, is available here.

“The accreditation process provides an excellent opportunity for the entire campus to recognize the significant accomplishments we’ve made since our last visit as well as identify areas for improvement and investment for the future,” Chancellor Ronnie Green said. “All members of the university play important roles in assuring a successful reaccreditation process.”

The open forums are 1 p.m. Sept. 12 in Regency A of the Nebraska Union; 10:30 a.m. Sept. 14 in Regency A of the Nebraska Union; and 11 a.m. Sept. 15 in the Cottonwood Room in the East Union. Attendees will see a brief presentation about the accreditation process, hear about areas that peer-review team will be especially interested in, and have a chance to ask questions. No advance registration is necessary and the sessions will last about an hour.

“I would encourage everyone at the university to be a part of shaping our future by attending one of these open forums,” Green said.

The events are the latest in a series of discussions across campus to aid the drive toward reaccreditation. There has been broad participation by various university groups since 2014. In early 2015, about 80 faculty, staff and students began drafting documents to reflect the university’s outstanding work in its mission, ethical conduct, teaching and learning practices, and institutional resources and planning.

Various university groups also have provided feedback on the university’s Assurance Argument – a written report for the HLC that demonstrates how the university is meeting the commission’s accreditation criteria. In April, students gave input to the commission via an online survey.

The HLC has assembled a nine-administrator peer-review team from other institutions, including the Big Ten Academic Alliance and peer universities, to conduct a site visit Oct. 25-26. The group will meet with administrators, faculty, staff, students and alumni to determine if and how the university meets the commission’s criteria for accreditation.

“We are well-positioned for this visit,” Green said. “I am most confident that with broad campus support and engagement, we will achieve reaffirmation of accreditation.”