UT receives continued accreditation from Higher Learning Commission

July 23, 2012 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

The University of Toledo has received continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The University received the official action letter confirming the continued accreditation last week, and the comprehensive evaluation report from the site team has been posted on the UT Self-Study website, www.utoledo.edu/accreditation, for the community to review.

The consultant evaluators who visited campus in February noted in their overall observations, “The team felt that the institution is well-run, well-poised and well-placed to handle the challenges posed by the region and to take advantage of opportunities provided by the region.”

“Successful continued accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission is something every member of our University community should take pride in,” UT President Lloyd Jacobs said. “The positive evaluation is a confirmation of all the hard work of every member of the faculty, staff and administration to carry out our mission to improve the human condition.”

The action letter confirming continued accreditation from the commission is the culmination of years of work that included a comprehensive self-study report and a visit from a team of consultant evaluators to the University in February.

The HLC team reviewed UT’s success in meeting five key criteria: Mission and Integrity; Planning for the Future; Student Learning and Effective Teaching; Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge; and Engagement and Service.

“The HLC consultant evaluators commented that our self-study report was one of the most detailed reports submitted by an institution, which is recognition of the great group of people who worked extremely hard for years to prepare,” said Dr. Dorothea Sawicki, professor of microbiology-immunology, associate dean and vice chancellor of graduate health science, and co-chair of UT’s HLC self-study steering committee. “The University was recognized for the things we do well, and the process helped identify areas that could use more attention, which is important for a higher education institution that is always interested in continuous improvement.”

Several of the HLC’s recommendations already are being addressed by the University, such as successful enrollment management with the move of Enrollment Services to the Office of the Provost to focus more on the retention of students.

The commission also recommended more attention to assessment and general education, which UT is addressing with Dr. Penny Poplin Gosetti serving as vice provost for assessment, accreditation and program review, and the newly revised core curriculum that focuses on core competencies.

Accreditation from the HLC is important in terms of institutional and student eligibility to apply for federal grants, loans and research funds; the ability to take certain state licensure exams; tuition assistance for employees and much more.

“Continued accreditation is essential for the University to deliver quality educational programs and provide important opportunities for our students and employees,” Poplin Gosetti said. “It is a great deal of work and it should be because of the critical importance it has for an institution. The process gives us the opportunity to both evaluate our institution to see what we can do better and sing the praises of what we do well. We have much to be proud of.”

The Higher Learning Commission, founded in 1895, is one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. UT has been accredited by the commission since 1922, and the former Medical College of Ohio/Medical University of Ohio had been accredited since 1980.

For more information on the commission, visit ncahlc.org.

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