Accreditors Commend University

Accreditors Commend University

The Higher Learning Commission concluded its reaccreditation visit by reporting its findings to UW-Eau Claire yesterday morning in Schofield.

After the last reaccreditation visit, the HLC issued eight challenges for the university to address, including diversity and assessment, among others, according to the Self-Study. But this time, the HLC reported only four concerns.

The team's chair, Donald Sandstrom, delivered a brief review, commending the university's efforts concerning the levels of student participation in study abroad programs, commitment to undergraduate-faculty collaborative research and the university's willingness to address difficult issues, among others.

"Our recommendations are for the next comprehensive site visit to be in 2019," he said, drawing a round of applause from the audience.

Sandstrom said the four concerns reported must be addressed before the next visit. They include:

There is no evidence that an academic master plan exists.

There needs to be more consistent, comprehensive assessment of student learning.

There is a need for additional personnel to accomplish the Strategic Plan.

There needs to be more collaborative work in the university community on the Strategic Plan.

However, the oral report delivered Wednesday isn't finalized, and their recommendations will not be approved until this winter, Sandstrom said. He added that the university will receive a report to check for fact errors. A final report will be sent to the chancellor in about six weeks.

Lead writer of the Self-Study Mickey Crothers said she was pleased with the outcome.

"I think they recognize what we're trying to accomplish as an institution, and their recommendations are completely consistent with our own goals, so that actually helps us to move forward," she said.

The Self-Study also contained two new change requests: a doctorate in nursing practice and an online Master of Business Administration program.

Sandstrom said they will recommend the approval of both requests, something that Chancellor Brian Levin-Stankevich said will be very important for the campus.

"This now affirms our first doctoral degree, and that's a big step," he said.

In addition, Levin-Stankevich said one point the reviewers made that he enjoyed was their description of the university as a candid place that is willing to tackle tough issues.

"We just need to continue to do that," he said. "But overall, I think that it's an affirmation of the work that we've been doing, that's been done by generations before us. It's an affirmation that we're upholding these traditions and strengthening them."

Chair of social work Vanda Galen said she first heard of the HLC visit when she came to the university in June. She thought the fact that the HLC didn't have a laundry list of concerns and had commendations reflected well on the university.

"I think it affirmed the wisdom of my decision to come here."

Source: The Spectator

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