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Higher Learning Commission gives OSU continued accreditation

Friday, April 21, 2006

Thanks to improvements in a variety of areas and a thorough self study, Oklahoma State University has received notification from The Higher Learning Commission that its accreditation has been continued for an additional 10 years following the vote of the commission.

The next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2015-16.

The Higher Learning Commission, formerly referred to as the North Central Association, is one of six U.S. regional institutional accrediting associations. It offers the highest form of accreditation that is available to universities.

“We are pleased that the efforts of so many faculty, staff and students have resulted in a positive visit and the university has received continued full accreditation,” said OSU System CEO and President David J. Schmidly. “Going forward, we will work hard to improve every aspect of an OSU education.”

Marlene Strathe, OSU provost and senior vice president, said: “A 10-year re-accreditation approval is the most positive outcome from this process. The campus visit by the evaluator team is the culmination of a several-year process of institutional self analysis resulting in the self-study report. It is important to note that the OSU self study and web components have been cited by the Higher Learning Commission as a model for other institutions.”

The Higher Learning Commission’s response to the university’s self-study report should be received soon, according to Dr. Brenda Masters, associate professor of statistics and director of the self-study. At that time, it will be posted on the OSU accreditation website.

Significant achievements cited at OSU between 1995 and 2005 included increased graduation and retention rates; national recognition as a high-quality, but affordable, university; national rankings for numerous academic and research programs; development of a nationally recognized scholars’ program; improved evaluation and assessment processes; and development of the university’s systemwide strategic plans.

To prepare for the 10-year accreditation review, the university, led by committees, conducted a thorough institutional analysis — called a self-study — and prepared a self-study report that demonstrated how OSU satisfied the accreditation criteria and formally requested continued accreditation from the commission. A team representing the Higher Learning Commission visited the campus last September. The team reviewed the university’s ability to meet the institutional requirements and all criteria for continued accreditation.

During the visit, the evaluation team met with constituent groups to discuss the criterion on which the self-study was written, which included mission and integrity; preparing for the future; student learning and effective teaching; acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge; and engagement and service.

“Institutional improvement is a major goal of our accreditation self-study, which we were involved in for three years,” Masters said. “This self-study involved not only faculty and administrators, but students and staff members."

Accreditation is important for OSU in maintaining the eligibility of its students for federal grants and loans and for the university’s continued recognition by employers, governmental agencies, professional licensing boards, and other institutions of higher learning as an outstanding university that provides excellent educational opportunities.

The commission has requested that OSU submit two progress reports, one in January 2007 addressing the responsibility and authority of the Office of Affirmative Action, and the other in January 2011, addressing institutional diversity.

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