HLC Open Forum

The forum addressed the reaffirmation of accreditation process and how UW-Platteville is carrying out the process at year eight in the 10-year cycle. The upcoming visit on Oct. 24 and 25 will allow UW-Platteville to host five HLC peer reviewers from other universities. Students, faculty and non-faculty staff will be able to discuss topics on campus in various forums held during these days, however, there is not a finalized schedule at this time.

“The Higher Learning Commission does not prescribe how any institution functions; they want to see how we function in relation to what we claim we do,” Klavins said. “Which is what we [the Accreditation Steering Committee] have been working for the past five years to be able to document.” The peer reviewers are coming to evaluate how effective our university is in matters of assumed practices, compliance in regulations and proof of claims. Meaning what the university has as graduation requirements, Title IV funding and how the university communicates with the public.

Proof of claims are covered by an executive summary. This summary is a 35,000-word argument that addresses the five criteria for accreditation. Each of the five criterion has multiple sub-components which the university is expected to provide examples for both, ways to improve, and evaluate issues on campus.

Klavins goes on to say, “It [Accreditation] is a voluntary process that is absolutely essential for us [the university] to maintain our existence.”

For the last four years, the HLC Reaffirmation of Accreditation Steering Committee, composed of representatives from across our campus, assigned teams to each criteria. These teams collected evidence to support how each part of the university performs their functions. After the evidence is gathered a writing team organized all the information into the university’s Assurance Argument. This 107-page document has been shortened into a 7-page executive summary, both of which can be found on UW-Platteville’s Higher Learning Commission website. The executive summary highlights what the HLC’s criteria are and lists some of the points that were made in the university’s argument.

The Assurance Argument was sent in for review last month, and the reviewers have the ability to request more information in areas that they may need clarification and additional documentation in.

Klavins believes that this accreditation gives the university an opportunity to reflect on what is being done well and where there is room to improve. She urges faculty to read through the document and pay special attention to the programs that they are involved in.

A new process that the HLC incorporated is the student opinion survey, which was instituted on campus last April. The results were compiled by the HLC and then given back to the university. These results are now being formatted into an executive summary format and will soon be available.

The HLC will start by meeting with the university’s leadership on Monday and will spread across our campus to meet with a variety of different groups. The HLC will most likely meet with the Steering Committee and members of the Federal Compliance team first, however, additional open sessions will be added as the HLC identifies other groups they would like to meet with.