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OSU Regents Hear about Preparations for Institutional Accreditation Visit

Friday, April 22, 2005

OKLAHOMA CITY – Members of the Oklahoma State University Board of Regents were briefed today about the university’s extensive preparations for an accreditation site visit this fall from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Dr. Brenda Masters, an associate professor of statistics and director of university accreditation, told board members that OSU undergoes a comprehensive accreditation review every ten years and that the university has earned continuous institutional accreditation since 1916.

She said a team from the commission, formerly called the North Central Association, will visit OSU Sept. 26-28. The accreditation review will cover OSU-Stillwater, OSU-Tulsa and two graduate degree programs at the OSU Center for Health Sciences.  

“The team will evaluate the university and review a comprehensive self-study report, which is currently being finalized by faculty teams and university staff,” Masters said. “The accreditation is crucial because it assures the university community, our constituencies and our educational peers that OSU is providing a quality education that meets strict national standards.”

Masters added that institutional accreditation also is a requirement for student eligibility to obtain government-backed student loans.

She told regents that HLC grants accreditation based on several criteria. The first is that the university should operate with integrity to ensure the fulfillment of its mission through structures and processes that involve the regents, administration, faculty, staff and students.

The commission also examines whether the university allocates resources in a way that helps fulfill its mission, improves the quality of its educational programs and gives it the ability to respond to future challenges and opportunities.

Universities also must demonstrate that they are doing an excellent job of teaching and that they have mechanisms in place to evaluate the effectiveness of their teaching programs.

Masters said the university must provide evidence that it promotes a life of learning for its students, faculty, administration and staff by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity and social responsibility. An institution also must demonstrate that it does a good job of engaging and serving its statewide constituency.

“The self-study process is almost over, and the report is being finalized,” Masters said. “Our faculty teams have given their input, and we are currently taking comments from other members of the university community. We are focusing on achieving maximum participation by giving the community and our constituents every opportunity to voice their comments and concerns. The next step is to finish the final draft, take additional input and prepare the final report for the commission’s review.”

Masters said persons can visit to review the various documents and reports concerning the accreditation process.
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