Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Let's celebrate!

photo by D Sharon Pruitt
It’s official. Bluffton University has received re-accreditation through The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools! And we’ve received the maximum 10-years of continuing institutional accreditation. Meaning the next scheduled comprehensive NCA evaluation isn’t until 2018-19!

Why the celebration? This is such a good thing on so many levels. Primarily it means that Bluffton credits and degrees will continue to be accepted and respected by other universities, employers and other organizations. Bluffton has been continuously accredited since 1956 (or so – don’t quote me on the year.)

Peer reviewers found that Bluffton “[is] fulfilling our stated mission with integrity…looking ahead and preparing for the future…shows sound evidence of student learning and effective teaching…creates an environment that fosters and supports inquiry, creativity, practice and social responsibility… and engages and serves its internal and external constituencies and community neighbors in ways that both values.”

The reaccreditation process began in spring 2006 with preparations for a self-study. During the self-study five committees worked to pull together evidence of the many ways that Bluffton fulfills its mission based on five criteria given by the HLC/NCA. This is when institutional memory is huge. To be able compile information about a conference/program/event that happened nine years ago that perfectly supports a criterion is - to borrow a phrase – priceless.

Each committee drafted a chapter of the resulting 268-page self-study document. Then the fun really began. Editing. Proofing. Locating and compiling supporting documents. Building an on-line “resource room.” And I was only on the fringes of all this fun-ness. And we won’t have to do this again to this extent for another 10 years! Woohoo!

To be honest, it is an important process to undergo. Both to take the time to look up from the immediate task at hand and really see what amazing things have been accomplished around us, but to also identify what opportunities we may be missing. Bluffton is a stronger university for having gone through this process – and I don’t say that just because they pay me.

(President Jim Harder announced the official reaccreditation during the annual President’s Forum on Sept. 15.)

1 comment:

  1. As an Alum I'm happy to hear this. As someone who was able to support the process in minor ways I'm glad that the process has come to an end and we've received the maximum term for accreditation!

    Thanks to the hard work of all involved.