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Chancellor's Blog: It’s not too early to think accreditation

| Chancellor James Schmidt

Twenty-four months.

It sounds like a long time, but October 2019 will be here before we know it.

That’s the date of UW-Eau Claire’s 10-year reaccreditation. I’m writing about it now because not only does accreditation require lots of preparation, it also will involve our entire campus.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is our accrediting body, working with universities and colleges across 19 states to assure students, their families and the public that we are providing a quality education. UW-Eau Claire has been accredited since 1950, a public assurance that we meet rigorous standards and that our students are eligible for federal financial aid.

Every 10 years we are asked to submit a comprehensive evaluation report on our mission, policies and practices, as well as the educational outcomes we provide. That report is assessed by a team of peer reviewers who also visit our campus to learn firsthand what a Blugold education involves. Some of you may remember past accreditation visits in 1999 and 2009 — both successful! In addition, we work with the HLC to file annual institutional reports, a mid-term evaluation and to undertake improvement initiatives.

As part of our reaccreditation this cycle, we will prepare a detailed report providing examples and evidence of how well we meet five criteria — everything from how we fulfill our mission, to our use of resources, to the quality of the education we provide. Learn more about the criteria here.

Under Provost Pat Kleine’s leadership and the direction of Mary Hoffman, director of Academic Planning and Assessment, a team of faculty and staff are already drafting our evaluation report. Over the next year you may be contacted by one of the members listed below. They may ask for information about our programs, data on student outcomes or examples of how we fulfill a specific criterion. Thank you in advance for helping when asked.

Your HLC Work Group

Criterion 1, Mission: MJ Brukardt and Bob Hooper

Criterion 2, Integrity — Ethical and Responsible Conduct: Karen Havholm and Jean Pratt

Criterion 3, Teaching and Learning — Quality, Resources and Support: Mike Carney, David Leaman and Carmen Manning

Criterion 4, Teaching and Learning — Evaluation and Improvement: Mary Hoffman, Darrell Newton and Kristin Schumacher

Criterion 5, Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness — Stephanie Jamelske and Pat Kleine

You’ll be hearing more about our reaccreditation in the 24 months to come. And, in fall 2019, you’ll have an opportunity to help us welcome our HLC reviewers to UW-Eau Claire. The visit will be here before we know it!

Read more Chancellor's Blog posts.