What is the HLC?
The Higher Learning Commission is the branch of the North Central Association (NCA) of Colleges and Schools that is responsible for the accreditation of colleges, universities and other institutions of higher learning. The North Central Association is one of six regional associations that accredit schools and colleges in the United States. The other five are: the Middle States, New England, Northwest, Southern and Western Associations. Although most of the colleges and universities that the NCA Higher Learning Commission accredits are in the upper Midwest, its geographical range extends from West Virginia to Arizona.
When will the next HLC re-accreditation visit take place?
The campus has prepared a self-study report, based on the criteria for accreditation, and this self-study was submitted to the HLC in September, 2012. You can view this self-study on Cougar Connect. An evaluation team will be on campus November 12-14, 2012.
What is HLC accreditation? Why is it important?
While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (education, nursing, etc.), the Higher Learning Commission and other regional accrediting agencies are responsible for assuring that colleges and universities meet certain standards in terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service. Accreditation is an assurance to the public that an institution is properly prepared to do its job. On a more practical level, the HLC and the other accrediting agencies have been designated as the "gatekeepers" for federal funds in higher education. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many kinds of federal support. For more information, see the HLC website.
Is Chicago State University currently accredited?
Yes, by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).
What does the HLC look for when it accredits colleges and universities?
The HLC evaluates institutions against five criteria for accreditation:
- Mission and Integrity
- Preparing for the Future
- Student Learning and Effective Teaching
- Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
- Engagement and Service
How is the campus preparing for the November 2012 HLC Visit?
The self-study that was submitted to the HLC was written by broad-based committees consisting of faculty, staff and administrators. The self-study has undergone several rounds of revisions, which were informed by input from the campus community. Currently, members of the HLC Steering Committee are visiting the various units of the University explaining the key points on the self-study process and outcomes.
Who will be on the HLC Comprehensive Evaluation Team?
The campus will be visited by a Comprehensive Evaluation Team consisting of 8 trained, experienced Consultant Evaluators. These are administrators and faculty who have been accepted to the Peer Review Corps by the HLC. Information regarding the team composition is forthcoming and will be shared when it becomes available.
What will the team do during the visit?
The team has already received the self-study, together with a great deal of supporting documentation. During the visit, they will be seeking to validate the content of the self-study in terms of the strengths we have declared and data that support them, as well as opportunities for improvement. Team members will have meetings with key individuals and groups from across the campus and will have open meetings with students, faculty and staff. The team will write a report with their findings by the end of 2012 for submission to the HLC.
How should you prepare for the November 12-14 HLC Visit?
- Read the self-study (available at Cougar Connect).
- Become familiar with the CSU's Mission and Strategic Plan and be prepared to inform others about these documents.
- Show your Cougar Spirit and wear Cougar gear during the visit (or at least wear green!)
- Make sure you attend the meeting for your respective group during the visit and show your support.