Faculty and Staff - Preparing for Site Visit
Mission of the Higher Learning Commission
Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning
Five Criteria for Accreditation
Criterion One: Mission and Integrity
Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future
Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching
Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge
Criterion Five: Engagement and Service
Preparation for Reaccreditation
Winona State University hosted a Peer Review Team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) March 19-21, 2012. Although this was not the final step in accreditation, it represented a key juncture in the process. In preparation for this event, Winona State University undertook the following actions:
Why are HLC accreditation and the self-study report important?
Winona State University was first accredited by the North Central Association as a teacher-training institution in 1913. Comprehensive evaluations are now conducted every ten years by the Higher Learning Commission. Winona State University last comprehensive review occurred in 2000-2001.
The Higher Learning Commission is the newly named branch of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). In the past, it was known as the North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education.
The new name is streamlined, but also reflects a shift in higher education toward accountability for student learning. Like the other five regional accrediting agencies in the nation (Middle States, Northwest, New England, Southern, and Western Associations), HLC is responsible for assuring that college and universities meet set criteria in the areas of their missions, operations, activities in teaching and learning, discovery and promotion of knowledge and service.
Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission serves as an assurance to the public that an institution is properly prepared to do its job and committed to sustaining a high level of accountability to its students and the greater community. At the local level, the self-study process often informs an institution, stimulating analysis of strengths and challenges, identifying areas for improvement, and opening up new possibilities. At the national level, accrediting institutions like the Higher Learning Commission have been designated as “gatekeepers” for quality assurance and disbursement of federal funds in higher education. For additional advantages, consider:
How did faculty and staff get ready for the HLC Peer Review Team?
What happened during the HLC Peer Review Team visit?
During the spring semester of 2012, the campus was visited by a team of trained HLC consultant evaluators, composed of faculty, administration, and staff of HLC institutions that formally have been accepted by the Peer Review Corps of the HLC. Prior to their visit, the team received Winona State University’s Self-Study Report (available in January of 2012). The team also reviewed documents and data made available to them through the web or other electronic formats. During the visit, the team sought to validate the self-study report in terms of articulated strengths and identified challenges or concerns. The team met with key personnel and constituent groups across the campus. The team also held less structured open meetings with the campus community.