U of M Crookston Secures Reaccreditation from Higher Learning Commission
It’s official: the University of Minnesota Crookston (UMC) has secured continued accreditation status from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). At HLC’s February 8, 2016, meeting of its Institutional Actions Council, the organization officially took action to continue UMC’s accreditation with the next reaffirmation of accreditation in or before 2023-24.
As part of the accreditation process, a team of peer evaluators trained in HLC’s standards visited the Crookston campus in November of 2015 and made recommendations to the HLC board. UMC’s last comprehensive reaccreditation visit and affirmation were in 2006. The Crookston campus is accredited separately at the institutional level from the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus.
HLC works to validate the quality of an institution as a whole and to evaluate multiple aspects of an institution based on five overall criteria: mission; ethical and responsible conduct; the quality, resources, and support for teaching and learning; the evaluation and improvement of teaching and learning; and resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness.
Barbara Keinath, UMC’s vice chancellor for academic affairs and student affairs, said, “The accreditation process can be a bit intense, as our faculty, staff, and administration answer questions and provide documentation about basically everything we do. It also is a very affirming process. Not only did the peer reviewers determine that we met all the expectations in each of the criteria areas, they also helped us evaluate and advance our commitment to offering an ever better, high quality education.”
UMC utilizes the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) as its path for reaccreditation. Accreditation through the AQIP pathway assures quality by verifying that an institution not only meets standards, but also is engaged in continuous improvement. The result is that accreditation becomes a continuous process, and educational institutions continue to build and improve quality measures.
UMC Chancellor Fred Wood said, “As a campus, we chose the AQIP pathway because it challenges us go over and above simply meeting standards, and it helps us maintain a strong commitment to offering the best educational experience to students. AQIP action projects help us take a hard look at current processes and practices and find ways to make them stronger, more efficient, and more effective. It is a great match for UMC and our commitment to continuous improvement.”
According to HLC, accreditation status is a continuing relationship between the institution and HLC that is subject to reconsideration periodically or when necessary. Institutional accreditation is a complete review by the private, nongovernmental organization specifically created to review higher education institutions and programs for quality.
HLC is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. It accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region comprised of 19 states, including Minnesota, Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.
The six regional accreditation agencies are recognized by the U.S. Department of Education to accredit degree granting colleges and universities. These agencies have similar standards for accrediting colleges and universities across the U.S.
For more information on HLC and the accreditation process, visit www.hlcommission.org or call 800-621-7440.
The University of Minnesota Crookston now delivers 34 bachelor's degree programs, 22 minors, and 39 areas of emphasis on campus as well as 14 degree programs entirely online. These degrees are offered in the areas of agriculture and natural resources; business; liberal arts and education; and math, science and technology. With an enrollment of 1,800 undergraduates from more than 20 countries and 40 states, the Crookston campus offers a supportive, close-knit atmosphere that leads to a prestigious University of Minnesota degree. "Small Campus. Big Degree." To learn more, visit www.umcrookston.edu.