Reaccreditation earned, campus can party April 8

NCA celebrationAfter more than two years of intensive work, Kenya Taylor is breathing a sigh of relief.

With UNK’s accreditation reaffirmed for another 10 years, Taylor and administrative assistant Janna Shanno are looking forward to some time, soon, when they won’t be under deadline pressure or gathering, writing, and editing reports and data for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

But first, it’s time to say “thank you.”

“We did great,” Taylor said. “…A big ‘thank you’ for all the hard work that everyone did. The congratulations really go to everybody. The writing team had to collect materials and talk to people all over campus, and everyone was great about doing their part, whether it was big or small. It worked  because everyone helped.”

Graduate Studies Dean/Associate Vice Chancellor Taylor and Chancellor Doug Kristensen want to celebrate and thank the campus for “rocking” the NCA accreditation at a celebration reception 4-5:30 p.m. April 8 in the Sandhills Room in the Nebraskan Union. All are welcome.

Taylor characterized the accreditation team’s evaluation as positive. “We’re in such a good place now. Everything is running well. We’re not needing to fix anything.” Taylor said the HLC process now turns to identifying areas for continuing improvement.

The self-study process began in Spring 2011 and targeted specific fulfillment of five criteria for accreditation: UNK’s attention to its mission; integrity; teaching and learning quality, resources and support; teaching and learning evaluation and improvement; resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.

All five criteria were met, identified in the site-visit team’s recommendation:

“The Team recommends reaffirmation of accreditation of UNK with the next comprehensive visit in 2023-2024. Based on the Team’s evaluation, UNK has substantively met all five accreditation criteria and the core components of each.  The institutional commitment to quality programs and services as well as to continuous improvement is further rationale for this recommended ten-year reaffirmation.

As illustrated by evidence presented in this report, the mission of UNK precisely articulates the institution’s purposes and aspiration, is well understood and highly valued by its constituents, and serves as a guide for institutional planning and operations.  UNK demonstrates integrity in its public disclosures and communications, and further by operating consistent with its mission.

UNK maintains high quality academic programs and student support services for on-campus and distance education. Its programs and services are supported by well-qualified faculty, staff and administrators. The University has capably addressed the issues regarding the General Studies curriculum, identified by HLC evaluations during the last ten years. The newly implemented General Studies curriculum is well-designed, reflects the mission of the University, and good practices in higher education.

The institution is clearly focused on continuous improvement of student learning in its academic programs regardless of the mode of delivery. While assessment was identified as an issue during the last comprehensive visit, the assessment program has matured substantially.  Assessment processes are now embedded into the institution’s academic, co-curricular, and residential/student support services functions. The processes demonstrate good assessment practices, and UNK has developed the culture and infrastructure for continuous improvements in its assessment program.

Planning and budgeting processes are well-developed and implemented at UNK. These processes are mission-driven, anticipatory, and participatory. UNK has managed to sustain a healthy financial position, and has substantially improved is capital facilities and technology for fulfilling its purposes into the future. Utilizing evaluation and assessment data for decision-making, the budget and planning processes further illustrate that UNK is a learning institution committed to continuous improvement in fulfilling its mission.”

Taylor said campus and community strategic planning will begin soon to identify areas for continuing and focused improvement.

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