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Across the Commons

Self-study marks new accreditation model

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association is the accrediting agency for The University of Akron. It is one of six regional accrediting bodies in the United States, and UA is one of over 1,000 institutions accredited through the HLC. Accreditation through a regional accrediting body gives colleges and universities access to federal financial-aid, a critical means of academic support for students.

Recently, HLC developed a new model for continued accreditation, called Pathways. It is different from the previous process of Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ) in a number of ways:

  • It supports a process of continuous improvement more readily implemented than through the previous process of ten-year accreditations
  • It re-defines the criteria we must address in our self-study report
  • It provides more opportunities for frequent interactions with the HLC to support dynamic changes across our university, including the implementation of Vision 2020

The HLC Pathways Model goes into effect in February of 2013. UA will be one of the first institutions evaluated under the new model, with our reaccreditation site-visit scheduled for March of 2013. The Self-Study Steering Committee and Writing Teams are preparing the self-study document that addresses the five new criteria for evaluation:

  • Mission
  • Ethical and Responsible Conduct
  • Teaching and Learning – Quality, Resources, Support
  • Teaching and Learning – Evaluation and Improvements
  • Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

In addition, a sixth team is addressing federal compliance requirements as part of our self-study evaluation. Over the summer, the teams will compile the self-study report in preparation for broad campus input in fall 2012. Broad campus participation is key to a successful self-study report, especially in light of the new criteria for accreditation.

Announcements will be made concerning opportunities for comprehensive input.

Visit the UA HLC website

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