Recognition demonstrates a commitment
to academic excellence
Western Colorado University is excited to announce that the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) voted at its July 18 meeting to continue the University’s accreditation for the next ten years. The vote is a recognition of the University’s commitment to maintaining rigorous academic standards since it was first accredited in 1915 and providing exceptional educational experiences for its students.
The Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Process
The Institutional Actions Committee of the HLC, which is the body that decides whether to reaffirm the accreditation, considered the University’s performance during the entire ten-year period during its most recent evaluation. During that process, the University has to meet benchmarks and check in periodically while the Committee examines various aspects of the University’s operations, or “Criteria for Accreditation,” including its educational programs, faculty qualifications, student resources and support services, institutional integrity, governance, and financial stability.
The evaluation process culminates in the submission of an “Assurance Argument” and a campus visit by the peer reviewers, who come from similar institutions across the region. “After the peer reviewers evaluate our Assurance Argument that addresses the criteria, they visit campus to engage in further discussion with the entire community of faculty, staff, students, and administration,” Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs Kelsey Bennett, who serves as the University’s Accreditation Liaison Officer and handles the whole process, said.
What Accreditation Means to Western
The reaffirmation is a significant achievement for Western, serving as an assurance of the institution’s academic quality and credibility. Western’s President Brad Baca expressed his gratitude for the hard work and dedication of the University community in achieving this milestone.
“Reaffirmation by the Higher Learning Commission is a testament to the commitment of our faculty, staff, and students to excellence in education,” he said. “We are proud to be recognized for our continuous efforts to provide a transformative learning environment that prepares our graduates for successful careers and lifelong learning.”
What Accreditation Means for Western
Accreditation by the HLC not only speaks to the quality of the education Western’s students receive but also enhances the University’s ability to attract respected faculty and foster partnerships with other reputable institutions, like the partnership program with CU Boulder. It’s also a reflection of the University’s dedication to continuous self-assessment and improvement.
“Although the tasks associated with the reaffirmation of our accreditation can seem daunting because they happen on a university-wide scale, going through the process of reflecting on the institution’s current strengths, challenges, and aspirations with campus colleagues is ultimately an illuminating and rewarding endeavor,” Bennett said. “The peer reviewer feedback is valuable as we work to shape what we have learned into real results, which you see in our students who will go on in so many different ways after graduation to serve the public good.”
For more information about Western and its programs, please visit western.edu.