Accreditation: We’re all in this together
Get the latest on the Higher Learning Commission re-accreditation process and how it affects you.
August 29, 2016
Yes, MSU Denver is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional higher-education accreditors in the United States. In fact, we have been since 1971.
But that doesn’t guarantee we always will be. Every 10 years we need to re-up with the HLC, and as you might have read in the spring, MSU Denver is currently in the midst of the re-accreditation process.
Regional accreditation is essential for a variety of reasons. Perhaps the most important is that the federal government will only send funds – think Pell Grants (need-based grants to low-income students) or other support monies – to regionally accredited higher ed institutions. Accreditation also helps to provide a consistent level of education across the region and nation, thus allowing students to transfer credits in and out of other accredited institutions.
Here’s where we stand at the moment: We are finalizing our assurance argument, which is a document that demonstrates that we have met the HLC’s five criteria. The working draft was written by many faculty and staff at the University, and represents the strengths we possess and areas where we are committed to making improvements.
Every claim we make in the argument must be backed by evidence, typically via a link to a document in an accompanying evidence folder. This may include screen shots of a website, meeting minutes, published documents, etc. These supporting materials are being collected right now, so you may be contacted with a request for such documentation.
In September, the working document will be shared with Faculty Senate, the Board of Trustees and the entire MSU Denver community. In November 2016, we go public, sending the assurance argument to stakeholders in the Denver community to gather feedback. And in February, we will begin loading the final document onto the HLC website to be locked down by March 1.
The process culminates with the HLC campus visit on April 10 and 11, 2017, during which time you may be called upon to meet with reviewers. The site visitors often ask to meet with a random selection of people to assess how the five criteria are expressed across campus.
On April 7, there will be cross-campus meetings in order to make any last-minute preparations for the visit. The University Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Steering Committee asks that you please plan to be available on the aforementioned dates.