SMSU Receives Re-accreditation

Published Monday, August 17, 2015

Southwest Minnesota State University was recently notified that it has been re-accredited by the Higher Learning Commission for a 10-year period.

The re-accreditation process is a long one, said English Professor Dr. Lori Baker, who coordinated a 16-person steering committee which produced SMSU’s self-study document, which is the cornerstone of the re-accreditation process.

 The self study “is a thorough examination of our own practices and processes, everything about the institution, which specifically looks at five criteria for accreditation,” said Baker.

The criteria include university mission; integrity: ethical and responsible conduct; teaching and learning: quality resources and support; teaching and learning: evaluation and improvement; and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.

The HLC visit team was on campus Oct. 20-22, 2014, for its site visit, part of the process of re-accreditation.

“We are delighted to learn that our accreditation was re-affirmed by the Higher Learning Commission,” said SMSU President Dr. Connie J. Gores.

President Gores serves as a site reviewer for the HLC at other institutions. “It’s a lengthy process which includes taking a critical look at ourselves, at what we do and how we do it,” she said. “The entire university community played a part in the process, and I’d like to thank them all for their meaningful work.”

The HLC is changing the re-accreditation process, said Baker. In the future, the process will be more ongoing and done primarily online, she said. “It will still be a lot of the same process as far as the internal review, and we still have to address the five criteria and the various components associated with that,” she said. “The new process is called the Pathway Process, and it’s more of an ongoing process over a 10-year period, instead of everything done near the end of that 10-year period.”