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Alt Campus prepares for re-accreditation
Colorado Mesa University is preparing for its decennial re-accreditation. This important process ensures CMU is recognized as a quality institution offering competitive degrees.


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Campus prepares for re-accreditation by Higher Learning Commission

Colorado Mesa University is preparing for its decennial re-accreditation. This important process ensures CMU is recognized as a quality institution offering competitive degrees.

What is accreditation?
Colorado Mesa University has been continuously accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association since it was Mesa College in 1957. Being accredited by the HLC on a regular basis means that: 1) we are recognized as a university that meets certain high quality standards, 2) the degrees we confer on our students are competitive, and 3) the general public is assured that its money is being well spent.

How do we stay accredited?
The continuation of CMU’s accreditation requires that we engage in formal reflection and analysis of what we do and how we do it and that we provide a detailed report of our analyses to the HLC every 10 years. Data gathering and interviews of key players on campus feed in to a final self-study report which is studied by members of the HLC before an evaluation team visits our campus to observe firsthand how well our report represents what we are actually accomplishing here at Colorado Mesa University.

What are we doing now?
Our last comprehensive visit from the HLC was in 2003, so we are now preparing for our site visit by five or six peers from HLC institutions, scheduled for November 2013. So much has changed! So much has been accomplished! In order to accurately represent all we have done since 2003 and demonstrate to the HLC team how we are planning for the coming years, a number of committees, offices, and individuals around our campus have been taking an in-depth look at CMU and preparing our next official self-study report. This report examines our programs, policies, and processes and asks: What do we do? How well do we do it? In what do we excel? What proof do we have? What needs improvement? How do we plan to improve? As a result of two years of hard work, we are now nearing completion of our 2013 Self-Study Report.

Our self-study is guided by five criteria established by the HLC. They address:
1 Mission,
2 Ethical and Responsible Conduct,
3 Teaching and Learning–Quality, Resources, and Support,
4 Teaching and Learning–Evaluation and Improvement, and
5 Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness.
Our report provides detailed data and in-depth discussion of each of the categories. An appendix addresses CMU’s compliance with federal requirements from the U.S. Department of Education.

What’s ahead?
In late February, we plan to make the self-study report available to faculty, staff members and students. That input will help us in refining, clarifying, and finalizing our draft. By June of this year, we will publish the entire report to all of our internal and external constituencies, and enter into a period of public comment and feedback before finally submitting the document to the HLC in October.

In the meantime, we will continue to educate the campus about the entire accreditation process and help prepare all for the site visitors. In November, CMU will host the HLC representatives as we enter the last phase of the self-study process. That team will make the initial recommendation on the reaffirmation of our accreditation, followed by several subsequent reviews before the process is concluded next spring.

While the self-study report is a key requirement for reaffirming that Colorado Mesa University continues to meet the criteria for accreditation set forth by the Higher Learning Commission, the long-term benefit of the self-study process will be to lay a foundation for continuing improvement, growth and development. •

By Julie Bruch and Joseph Richards, Co-Chairs
2013 Self-Study Steering Committee

Media Contact

Dana Nunn, Director of Media Relations

dnunn@coloradomesa.edu

970.248.1868 (o)

970.640.0421 (c)