Students were notified by interim dean of students, Del Doughty, Ph.D., before spring break that the Higher Learning Commission would be on campus.
“The HLC reviews all areas of campus to make sure we are meeting our mission,”Jeff Lehman, Ph.D., said.
The reviewers are all professors and administrators from other small, independent colleges. The HLC reviewers collect observations from campus people such as professors, board members, alumni, community members and students.
“I did get to interact with one woman from HLC,” senior Matt Whitney said. “She was very friendly and asked a lot of questions about my experience at HU. She wanted to know about my major and how I enjoyed the college as a whole.”
The HLC conducts a comprehensive review of the university every ten years to reaccredit the institution.The institution has been regionally accredited since 1961.
Doughty and Lehman were coordinators for the self-study report though it was a “team effort,” they said.
Faculty and staff served on committees identifying content for the self-study report and were asked to review and assess their departments and areas.
The self-study report ended up being a 187 page document with hyper-links. The university provided over 3,000 documents for the review team as part of the electronic resource room for example, course syllabi, committee minutes, board reports and assessment reports.
“I don’t think [students] had any doubt that the visit would go well,” said Whitney.
The university will receive a draft of the review team’s report sometime in April.
“We will review [the draft] for factual accuracy, return it to them, and then the Commission officers will review it and send a final response to us,” Doughty said. “We will have definitive results by summertime.”
Preparing for reaccreditation is a long process and not one to be taken lightly.
“I learned a lot, the most important thing being that the HU mission is totally legit,” Doughty said. “I believe in it more than ever, and I hope that I can communicate its awesomeness to others. Truly, our little college here is a light shining in the darkness, and the good things that happen here should give a body hope.”