Western State Colorado University has been accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools since 1915. This regional accrediting agency is responsible for accrediting degree-granting post-secondary institutions in a 19-state region.
Western State Colorado University is scheduled for a comprehensive evaluation of our programs and operations, or self-study, during the 2011-2012 academic year in preparation for a review for reaccreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in the fall of 2012. The following plan outlines the self-study goals and the strategies developed to accomplish those goals.
Steering Committee Members:
Kevin Nelson: Co-Coordinator, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs
Terri Wenzlaff: Co-Coordinator, Associate Vice President for Graduate Studies
Grace Eggleston: Student and SGA Treasurer
Julie Feier: Associate Vice President for Finance and Administration
Shelley Jansen: Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Sandra Mark: Board of Trustees
Kim Gailey: Criterion One – Mission and Integrity, Subcommittee Chair; Human Resource Director
Anthony Miccoli: Criterion Two – Preparing for the Future, Subcommittee Chair; Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Anne Ryter: Criterion Three - Student Learning and Effective Teaching, Subcommittee Chair; Professor of Chemistry
Andy Keck: Criterion Four – Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge, Subcommittee Chair; Professor of Mathematics
Brooke Moran: Criterion Five – Engagement and Service, Subcommittee Chair; Associate Professor of Recreation and Outdoor Education
Doug Driver: Director Institutional Research
Ann Wegert: Self-Study Staff
Five Criteria for Accreditation:
Criterion One: Mission and Integrity
Criterion Statement: The organization operates with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff, and students.
Criterion Two: Preparing for the Future
Criterion Statement: The organization’s allocation of resources and its processes for evaluation and planning demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its education, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.
- Criterion Three: Student Learning and Effective Teaching
Criterion Statement: The organization provides evidence of student learning and teaching effectiveness that demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational mission.
- Criterion Four: Acquisition, Discovery, and Application of Knowledge
Criterion Statement: The organization promotes a life of learning for its faculty, administration, staff, and students by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice, and social responsibility in ways consistent with its mission.
- Criterion Five: Engagement and Service
Criterion Statement: As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.
For further information about each criteria and its core components please visit http://www.ncahlc.org/information-for-institutions/criteria-for-accreditation.html.
The goals of the self-study are to:
1. engage the Western State Colorado University faculty in continued assessment that will lead to strengthened programs and practices to improve instruction and student learning and
2. produce a self-study report that documents and accurately evaluates how the University meets the General Institutional Requirements and the Higher Learning Commission’s five Criteria for Accreditation.
To accomplish these goals, the self-study will:
1. recommend actions to improve instruction and learning;
2. be inclusive, transparent, and seek to engage all Western State Colorado University stakeholders;
3. enhance present evaluation and assessment processes; and
4. provide data-driven introspection to act as a bridge between the current Strategic Plan and our 2015-2019 Strategic Plan.
Organization of the Self-Study
The self-study will be coordinated by Kevin Nelson and Terri Wenzlaff, associate vice presidents for academic affairs, who will convene the Self-Study Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will plan the self-study, coordinate implementation of the process, monitor its progress, and prepare the report for the Higher Learning Commission. The Steering Committee will help develop a campus-wide commitment to the self-study process and its importance in institutional evaluation and improvement.
The Steering Committee will coordinate the activities of five subcommittees, which will evaluate how well the institution meets the five criteria for accreditation and identify opportunities for improvement. The chair of each subcommittee will be a member of the Steering Committee. Each subcommittee, as appropriate, will engage existing Faculty Senate standing committees and other campus groups (such as the Budget Committee, Academic Chairs and Directors, Mid-Managers, President’s Cabinet, Mayors and Managers, Board of Trustees, Student Government Association, alumni, etc.). Each subcommittee will include a range of membership designed to bring expertise and broad perspectives to its tasks. The five subcommittees will be organized by the Higher Learning Commission’s five major criteria headings.