HLC Review Team recommends UNI for full reaccreditation
Published: Monday, November 15, 2010
Updated: Monday, November 15, 2010 11:11
On Nov. 8-10, a review team from the Higher Learning Commission visited campus for the University of Northern Iowa's reaccreditation process. This process is done at accredited schools every 10 years. The findings of the commission determine whether or not a school will continue to receive federal funding, student loans and transferability of credits to other universities.
As announced Wednesday by President Benjamin Allen, the review team will recommend full reaccreditation without stipulation or further required reporting.
"It points to the outstanding faculty and staff we have here on campus. This would not happen without their help," said Gloria Gibson, UNI Provost. "The result of the review was a product of hard work and involvement by many staff, faculty members and students."
In preparation for the HLC visit, UNI prepared a self-study of the five criteria the HLC uses in its evaluations. The criteria include: Mission and Integrity; Preparing for the Future; Student Learning and Effective Teaching; Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge; and Engagement and Service.
"The study explains who we are, our aspirations. It's introspective for the university as a whole," said Gibson.
Mike Licari, Associate Provost, said the goal of the self-study was to "produce a self-assessment of the institution; to evaluate it in all areas." The 10 members of the HLC review team, comprised of university administrators and faculty from around the Midwest, spent much of their time analyzing this self-study to determine its accuracy and validity.
A key element of their fact-checking process was the utilization of open forums for faculty, staff and students. On Nov. 8, the open forum for students was held in Maucker Union. The forum allowed the commission to hear direct insights from students on aspects of campus life.
Northern Iowa Student Government Vice President Emma Hashman was pleased with the turnout, saying, "We had really good representation of students, a lot of international students, a lot of grad students, students from every type of population."
Michael Maggiotto, Dean of Humanities and Sciences at Ball State University in Muncie, Ind., mediated. The forum allowed Maggiotto to ask questions pertaining to the criteria of the review, including a question about the various learning centers on campus. Maggiotto asked students, "Do you use these centers and these opportunities? Do you find them valuable?"
NISG President Joel Anderson responded first, saying, "We use them a lot in our fraternity, and they're really helpful for developing study habits for freshmen."
The forum also gave students the opportunity to ask questions about the review process. When asked about the impact of the student forum compared to the faculty and staff forums, Maggiotto said no particular forum holds more weight than another.
"Your successes will document whether this university succeeds in its mission. Students first — and you are the students," said Maggiotto.
According to Hashman, the outcome of the student forum was overwhelmingly positive.
"They were supposed to meet with us Wednesday afternoon, and they left in the morning. It went really smoothly; it was really good," said Hashman.
The final results of the review team's report and the commission's decision will not be ready for approximately six months.
"When we receive the report, we will receive recommendations," said Gibson. "The preliminary reports were favorable."
Licari described the team's findings as "very positive" and credited the "engagement of everyone on campus" for a stellar result.
For more information on the HLC, visit www.ncahlc.org. For information pertaining to the visit to UNI, including the complete self-study report, visit www.uni.edu/accreditation.