Accreditation on My Mind: Continued

provost-dan-howardIn last week’s Provost’s Post, I focused on the Criteria for Accreditation and the areas in which shortcomings are most frequently found. In addition to the five criteria for accreditation and their core components, the site visit team will review Assumed Practices and will review NMSU’s compliance with federal regulations.
 
Assumed Practices are foundational to the five criteria and their core components. They are a set of practices that all institutions of higher education are expected to demonstrate, regardless of mission, and regardless of size. In contrast to the Criteria for Accreditation, which require some judgment on the part of the review team, Assumed Practices are seen as matters of fact that are more easily assessed. The list of assumed practices is relatively lengthy and can be found here. They include:

  • The institution has a conflict of interest policy that ensures the governing board and senior administrative personnel act in the best interest of the institution
  • The institution assures that all data it makes public are accurate and complete, including those reporting on student achievement of learning and student persistence, retention, and completion
  • Faculty teaching general education courses, or other non-occupational courses, hold a master’s degree or higher in the discipline or subfield. If a faculty member holds a master’s degree or higher in a discipline or subfield other than that in which he or she is teaching, that faculty member should have completed a minimum of 18 graduate credit hours in the discipline or subfield in which they teach.
  • Faculty participate substantially in oversight of the curriculum

 
The HLC site visit team is also required to determine whether NMSU is meeting its Title IV requirements as well as other regulations of the federal government. As part of this process, the site visit team will investigate many facets of NMSU’s operations, including:

  • Assignment of credits, program length and tuition
  • Institutional records of student complaints
  • Publication of transfer policies
  • Practices for verification of student identity

More information about the Federal Compliance Program can be found here.
 
As someone who has been on several HLC site review teams, and recently led one, I have great confidence that NMSU will have a successful peer review visit. Nevertheless, we cannot afford to be complacent, and I hope that all of you will recognize the importance of the site visit and will be willing to play an active role in preparing for the visit, should you be asked to do so.

This is the final Provost’s Post of the semester. I hope that Finals Week is going well and that all of you have a safe and joyous holiday season. I extend very special congratulations to everyone who will be honored at Commencement on Friday and Saturday.

With all best wishes,

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