July 26, 2017 12:00AM
HLC, one of six regional accrediting bodies recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, is responsible for accrediting post-secondary educational institutions throughout the Midwest and requires a major review of each member institution twice during every 10-year period.
“It’s an extensive review,” said Jan Smith, assistant vice president for Institutional Effectiveness. “A review team looks at our entire operation to evaluate us against five criteria, including mission, integrity, academic and co-curricular offerings, governance, finances, and resources.”
Results from the recent review confirm that Pittsburg State meets all of HLC’s criteria. These findings are an endorsement of Pittsburg State’s commitment to quality education and continuous improvement.
HLC recently changed its review process to make it more meaningful and less burdensome. The new process relies more heavily on existing documentation rather. The result is a review that is more efficient and, in some respects, more meaningful for institutions.
“The old process was labor intensive,” Smith said. “The HLC site team would spend several days on campus auditing units. Many of the reports they reviewed were made specifically for their visit. Now, the review is done electronically, and we’re able to use existing reports. It’s a great move by HLC because it ensures the integrity of the process without placing as great of a strain on our limited resources. It’s so efficient, that many people on campus may not have even realized we were under review.”
HLC accreditation is a badge of honor for those institutions that have earned it. It’s also a reminder of the importance of forward thinking and strategic planning.
“Being an HLC accredited institution means you never stop improving,” said Lynette Olson, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “We’re now in the early stages of identifying our next major academic improvement project. Over the coming months we will select our theme and develop a detailed proposal. Our priority is making certain Pittsburg State provides the best quality educational experience for our students.”