KU begins process to reaffirm accreditation

Published: Aug. 29, 2022 at 9:40 AM CDT
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LAWRENCE, Kan. (WIBW) - The University of Kansas will begin the process to reaffirm its accreditation, which is done every decade.

In just over two years, the University of Kansas says it will be evaluated by the Higher Learning Commission to reaffirm its accreditation. On Monday, Aug. 29, it said members from all of its campuses will meet in the Kansas Union’s Big 12 Room to formally begin the process.

KU said the three key initiatives related to its work to prepare for reaffirmation include:

  • Gathering hundreds of artifacts to show it has not only met but exceeds the core components of the HLC criteria and other requirements.
  • Institutionalizing accreditation to ensure accountability.
  • Adopting a Quality Initiative aimed at a major improvement effort.

The University said its QI project - co-lead by Neal Kingston - director of the Achievement & Assessment Institute, and Michelle Mohr Carney, dean of the School of Social Welfare - focuses on the adoption of universitywide institutional learning goals.

KU noted that the project will work to strengthen and scale degree-level assessment at the Lawrence and Edwards campuses through the development and implementation of degree maps that integrate the institutional learning goals and degree-level learning outcomes for all undergraduate and graduate programs.

KU indicated that the QI project will also revise the academic program review process at both campuses to achieve a stronger alignment of degree-level learning outcomes assessment with annual budgeting, operations and strategic plan implementation to create a culture of continuous quality improvement at the University.

The University said the Center for Teaching Excellence will also play a crucial role in the project’s implementation.

Along with ensuring continuous improvement, KU said the HLC accreditation is important as it is a requirement for awarding federal financial aid - which about half of its students currently receive. In addition, it said many academic programs need regional accreditation as a condition of specialized accreditaiton.

KU noted that the Kansas Board of Regents also requires it to maintain HLC accreditation in order to award degrees.

“As KU once again engages in a comprehensive self-study that ensures our continued institutional accreditation, it provides us with important opportunities to see where we’re performing well and areas that need improvement,” said Douglas A. Girod, KU’s chancellor. “It requires us to prove our case rather than state our case, demonstrating to our stakeholders that KU not only provides a quality educational experience but engages in continuous improvement across the core functions of our academic, research and operational missions.”

KU indicated that it has consistently been accredited by HLC since Jan. 1, 1913. HLC is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and requires institutions to perform a comprehensive self-study every decade to show they meet the requirements of accreditation.

KU said that once its self-report is submitted, a peer review team will be chosen to conduct the evaluation, which includes visits to its campuses and meetings with stakeholders. The reviewers will then make a recommendation for continued accreditation.

“The individuals who have agreed to serve in this critical capacity and take on the task of gathering a broad range of evidence deserve our gratitude and support as they conduct this work over the next 26 months,” Girod said.

KU said its self-study will be submitted to HLC in the fall of 2024 and the peer review team is expected to visit campuses in early 2025.