July 8th, 2015
By Amanda Narverud
COLUMBIA, Mo. – The University of Missouri has been reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The regional accreditation agency validates the overall quality of institutions and again has affirmed the mission and responsibility of Missouri’s flagship university to the public.
“I am very pleased to receive the news that the Higher Learning Commission has renewed the university’s accreditation,” MU Chancellor R. Bowen Loftin said. “HLC reaccreditation assures our students that all aspects of the university meet nationally recognized standards. I very much appreciate the work of MU’s accreditation team, especially Pat Okker, who worked tirelessly on this project for months.”
As part of the accreditation process, a team of HLC peer reviewers visits the MU campus every 10 years. In preparation for the HLC evaluation and campus visit, the university assembled faculty, staff, administrators and students from across the university to form the Accreditation Task Force. Members were appointed in September 2013 in preparation for the February 2015 visit. Individuals from all areas of campus were represented on the task force; some of the represented areas include student affairs, academics, athletics, healthcare, institutional research and enrollment management.
“I would like to thank the Accreditation Task Force members and all of the faculty, staff, students and administrators who contributed to this process,” said Pat Okker, senior associate provost at MU and chair of the Accreditation Task Force. “Task force members worked for more than a year in preparation for the visit, and their dedication to and deep knowledge of MU were crucial to the success of our HLC review. The continuation of our accreditation confirms our commitment to our institution’s mission and our dedication to quality higher learning.”
Institutions that receive and/or maintain accredited status are evaluated against the HLC’s criteria for accreditation by a team of peer reviewers. Reviewers evaluate multiple aspects of the institution ranging from academic offerings, governance and administration, mission, finances and resources. The criteria for accreditation include:
- The institution’s mission is clear, articulated publicly and guides the institution’s operations;
- The institution acts with integrity and its conduct is ethical and responsible;
- The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered;
- The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement;
- The institution’s resources, structures and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
- The institution plans for the future.
The guiding values to receive accreditation include:
- Focus on student learning;
- Education as a public purpose;
- Education for a diverse, technological, globally connected world;
- A culture of continuous improvement;
- Evidence-based institutional learning and self-presentation;
- Integrity, transparency and ethical behavior or practice;
- Governance for the well-being of the institution;
- Planning and management of resources to ensure institutional sustainability;
- Mission-centered evaluation;
- Accreditation through peer review.
Regional accreditation agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and accredit degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions. The HLC is one of six regional institutional accreditors and accredits in the 19-state North Central region of the United States. Accreditation is required for universities to receive federal funds for student financial aid and research.
MU was previously granted a full 10-year reaccreditation in 2005. The university has been accredited by the HLC since 1913.