Dear Faculty and Staff: After nearly four years of preparation, the HLC On-Site Visit is upon us. Beginning early Monday morning through noon Tuesday, the four-member HLC Peer Review Team will be on campus. This VPAA Update provides information on Open Forum Discussions, Drop-in Sessions, and other relevant descriptions about the evaluation of CSC. Any known changes to the time or place will be furnished early Monday morning, 24 April 2017. All faculty and staff are highly encouraged to participate in Open Forum Discussions and Drop-In Sessions.
Throughout the last four years, the preparation has not been solely on 2017. Continuously we have asked ourselves what needs to be in place for 2021, the next HLC evaluation. In regard to 2025, we have asked, “What would our successors do?” To strive to obtain the outside view, we have pursued this in a variety of ways. From my perspective, we have utilized the HLC Comprehensive Evaluation to assist CSC with positioning us for the future; we have been able to do this because of the numerous individuals willing to engage in the work to make it possible.
• Chadron State 2020 — http://www.csc.edu/president/2020/index.csc
• MAP Purpose — http://www.csc.edu/library/mapsupport/#tab2
• MAP Priorities & Sub-Priorities – click on “Priorities”
• Visit the VPAA Update archive versions on the VPAA website: http://csc.edu/vpaa/snaresreleases/index.csc
Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Comprehensive Evaluation: Important Dates
17 April 2017: President Rhine’s introductory email explaining the HLC Visit sent to campus. 18 April 2017: Pam Newberg’s email providing information on access to the Assurance
Argument in Sharepoint. If you have any difficulties accessing the Assurance Argument, contact Pam Newberg (email@example.com). 24-25 April 2017: On-Site Visit of the HLC Comprehensive Evaluation. 27 April 2017 (2:00 pm-4:00 pm): All-Campus Appreciation and Celebration, Student Center
Ballroom (email from Pam Anderson to campus, 19 April 2017).
Open Forum Discussions
All campus constituencies are encouraged to attend, especially key individuals involved in gathering or preparing materials for the Assurance Argument. Senior administration does not attend the Open Forums. In some cases, the Open Forum Discussion are conducted simultaneously:
• Monday, 24 April 2017, 1:15-2:15 pm: Criteria 1 (Mission) & 2 (Ethical & Responsible Conduct), Student Center, Ponderosa
• Monday, 24 April 2017, 1:15-2:15 pm: Criteria 3 (Teaching & Learning: Quality,
Resources, & Support) & 4 (Teaching & Learning: Evaluation & Improvement), Student Center Bordeaux
• Monday, 24 April 2017, 2:30-3:30 pm: Criteria 5 (Resources, Planning, & Institutional Effectiveness) and Institutional Priorities, Student Center Ponderosa The Assurance Argument and Evidence File demonstrates how CSC meets each Criterion and Core Component of the HLC Criteria for Accreditation. The Criteria are available at this link: http://policy.hlcommission.org/Policies/criteria-for-accreditation.html. The center of attention is student achievement and learning. This mirrors the shift in higher education across the USA and the world.
An important component of the On-Site Visit is to confirm the evidence furnished in the CSC Assurance Argument. You likely have other evidence to share with the HLC Peer Reviewers that was not included within the Assurance Argument, as the document had a word limitation.
Individual faculty and staff have an opportunity to meet with team members. These sessions are held in the Student Center (Bordeaux, Ponderosa, and Lakota) during these scheduled times:
• Monday, 24 April 2017, 5:00-5:45 pm
• Tuesday, 25 April 2017, 8:00-9:00 am If these times are not workable, connect with one of the HLC Peer Team Reviewers prior to or after the Open Forum Discussions or contact Chair Henry Smith (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Sessions with Identified Committees or Individuals
Many of the sessions are conducted to confirm the CSC Assurance Argument. This includes meetings with the President, Cabinet, CSC Coordinating Committee for HLC Reaffirmation and Accreditation, Executive Council, CSC Federal Sub-Committee for HLC Reaffirmation, students, and a few other committees. If you are on a committee that is scheduled to meet with members of the HLC Peer Review Team, an invite will be sent to you, and the chair of the CSC committee (or Paula Perlinski) will contact you.
Other sessions are scheduled (1) due to a concern, (2) to obtain additional information or clarification, or (3) to understand innovative pursuits. Thus, you could be contacted to meet with members of the HLC Peer Review Team on Monday or early Tuesday morning. For instance, the HLC Peer Review Team has some time allocated on Tuesday to meet with individuals or groups based upon their review on Monday, 24 April.
There are two Focus Sessions that have been scheduled. These are interviews or meetings with committees or individuals. The focus areas are (1) Serving the region, especially Frontier and Remote (FAR) and (2) Planning, especially the Master Academic Plan (MAP) and mission. As for FAR (see 4 April 2016 VPAA Update for description), of particular interest is the success and challenges with serving the FAR region in all aspects: enrollment, student advising, first generation, distance, engagement and retention, transfer, diversity, and marketing. With respect to planning, it includes planning for and anticipating changes in the higher education environment such as emerging technologies, revenue fluctuations and reductions, student and parent expectations, alterations of faculty and staff roles, demographic shift, and other related factors.
HLC Peer Review
Peer review in accreditation functions with some basic assumptions. Peer reviewers are from other higher education institutions with experience and knowledge. Training based upon standards created by professionals in higher education is utilized to evaluate institutions. Typically peer reviewers are generalists rather than subject-area or programmatic specialists. Peer review is to verify institutional quality. Thus, institutional accreditation does not affirm the merits of every program or unit.
The peer review process is also committed to institutional improvement. During the last decade, CSC faculty and staff have made a commitment to become critical reflective practitioners. As a community of learners we strive to learn together through constructive dialogue and constructive disagreement. Continuous improvement corresponds to higher education professional standards.
The Peer Review Team may include three to seven members. The Peer Review Team for CSC includes Dr. Henry Smith, Indiana Wesleyan, Dr. Stephen R. Adkison, Henderson State University, Dr. Kathie S. Gilbert, Western New Mexico University, and Dr. Karen Vittengl, Truman State University. If you have the opportunity to interact with one of the peer reviewers, please thank them. Peer reviewers have willingly volunteered their time, must be full-time faculty members and administrators, participate in required education and training programs to become a peer reviewer, and complete additional training to remain current.
Accreditation and Oversight
Previous VPAA Updates provide a brief description of accreditation: 14 November 2014, 16 January 2015, and 11 February 2015. The 14 November 2014 update furnishes information about regional accreditation that is relevant to HLC.