WVU to 'reaffirm' its goals, mission as Higher Learning Commission visits campus in April
With five months to go, West Virginia University is ready to reaffirm its standing as a high quality educational institution in the U.S. For West Virginia’s flagship, land-grant University, it’s time for reaccreditation and the theme is “Reaffirm.”
The Higher Learning Commission, an agency which oversees accreditation of degree-granting colleges and universities, will conduct a comprehensive site visit at WVU from April 7-9, 2014. WVU’s last accreditation was in 2003-04.
WVU officials have been stressing the importance of accreditation across the WVU system.
WVU President Jim Clements said the HLC visit is “an opportunity to reaffirm WVU’s commitment to our mission of providing high quality education, research, health care and outreach programs as well as our promise to students and their parents that a WVU degree has great value now and in the future.”
Provost Michele Wheatly agreed, noting that institutional accreditation is an overarching “license to operate” that universities receiving federal funds are required to have, and program-specific accreditation is only valid if the institution is regionally accredited.
“I have always viewed accreditation as an opportunity to pause, document the recent past and use evidence to improve all aspects of the university,” she said. “The entire campus community should be anticipating the site visit with enthusiasm and pride.”
The reaccreditation process will involve all colleges and schools, major units and divisional campuses across the WVU system. About eight weeks before the site visit, the Commission will begin accepting comments from the University community and the public in writing or via the Commission’s web site. WVU will post notices online and in traditional and social media outlets when the public comment period begins and ends.
Visit the WVU accreditation website for up-to-date information as it becomes available.
The self-study process began in July 2011, when WVU’s Higher Learning Commission Planning Team, led by Provost Wheatly, was established to oversee and coordinate the study. More than 50 University faculty, staff and administrators are aiding in the process.
The study will be sent to the Higher Learning Commission no later than eight weeks prior to the April 2014 site visit. The report will respond to any challenges the Commission previously raised and provide evidence that WVU fulfills the criteria for accreditation, said Elizabeth Hamilton, accreditation and planning officer.
The Higher Learning Commission breaks down the criteria for accreditation into five qualities:
• The institution’s mission.
• Ethical and responsible conduct.
• The quality of teaching and learning.
• Evaluation and improvement of educational programs and support services.
• Resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.