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Higher Learning Commission (HLC)

Please direct all questions to:
Dr. Ross Wastvedt
Provost/Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

A message from the Provost

Southwest Minnesota State University (SMSU) is actively engaged in applying and monitoring the standards of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). As the Provost, I work closely with the Committee for Institutional Assessment, the Liberal Education Committee, the Student Affairs and Academic Affairs faculty and staff, and the Administration to implement the accreditation criteria into our operational enterprise.

We were pleased that the HLC granted SMSU the opportunity to have a joint visit in October 2018 that included the Focused Visit and the Comprehensive Visit. The Focused Visit concentrated on the Campus Assessment Master Plan (CAMP). As outlined in the CAMP all programs aligned with the Assessment Cycle and crafted student learning outcomes (SLOs), embedded SLOs into program sequence, assessed SLOs, collected and reviewed data from assessments, and made program adjustments based on feedback. The Comprehensive Visit showcased how SMSU is meeting HLC’s criteria of Mission; Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct; Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support; Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement-Assessment; and Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.

HLC commended our work with the Assessment Academy in which a team of faculty and staff worked with the academic faculty to align the Liberal Education student learning outcomes with the academic program outcomes. Each academic program conducted this alignment as well as embedded signature assessments throughout their programs to amplify this alignment. To support and sustain ongoing assessment, a set of protocols entitled the Program Assessment of Student Learning (PASL) was created. Each program appointed a Program Assessment Leader (PAL) to guide this work. A task of the PAL is to complete the Report on the Assessment of Student Learning (RASL). The data collected from the RASL monitored and captured the implementation of the Assessment Cycle and codified the operationalization of the CAMP.

We at SMSU are pleased that we have processes and procedures in place to continuously progress toward our strategic initiatives which are grounded in the Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation.

Dr. Ross WastvedtProvost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs

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