Regional accreditor approves faculty report

A peer-review panel for the Higher Learning Commission accepted CSC’s quality initiative report (QIR) Sept. 20, to begin the reaffirmation process for accreditation.
Every 10 years CSC submits a report, but this was the first time this kind of report was required, as the HLC has changed some policies, according to Joel Hyer, dean of the school of B.E.A.M.S.S.
Hyer said about 20 faculty and staff members were involved with writing and editing the report, but dozens more have been part of the process.
“People here really work together,” Hyer said. “It really epitomizes who we are as an institution.”
The main objective of the QIR is to redesign CSC’s general studies program. A group of faculty members got together in 2010 to discuss research about essential studies programs at numerous institutions.
Hyer said they found a need to update CSC’s current program, which was developed in the 1990s. New technology and research on teaching and learning habits prompted a new approach. In fall 2012, CSC launched the new essential studies program.
“So much of this program came from the creative genius of our faculty, to make something meaningful for the students,” Hyer said.
They came up with three objectives: establish a teaching and learning center, streamline processes providing support for adjunct instructors, and formalize communication between Student Services and Academic Affairs.
The teaching and learning center, located in the basement of Old Admin, is a free space for professors to research, have meetings, share presentations and work on improving their methods of instruction.
Two attempts were made to help adjunct professors adapt and integrate with the rest of campus. An online orientation site was created, and lasted a few years before the project coordinator was reassigned. Secondly, a mentor professor was to be paired with each adjunct, but issues of time and compensation arose, killing the proposition.
Although this goal has not yet been achieved, the project coordinators continue to work on solutions to improve the support for adjuncts.
Communication between Student Services and Academic Affairs has been improved through a series of meetings and initiatives. The two groups have worked together to continue the “Back on Track” and “Early Start” programs to alert students of their academics standings and help them improve.
They also established an office devoted to graduate studies, reorganized the President’s Executive Council to devote a task force to the Master Academic Plan, and collaborated to work on student retention.
All three objectives were created to promote communication and constant growth among faculty and staff to better serve CSC students.
“Accreditation is about student learning and student success, and I think at Chadron State that’s our passion,” Hyer said.
The next step for CSC in the reaffirmation process is to submit a federal compliance document in December, according to Hyer. Then they must submit a brief assurance argument in March that explains how CSC meets all the criteria of the regional accreditor.
Two attempts were made to help adjunct professors adapt and integrate with the rest of campus.
An online orientation site was created, and lasted a few years before the project coordinator was reassigned. Secondly, a mentor professor was to be paired with each adjunct, but issues of time and compensation arose, killing the proposition.
Although this goal has not yet been achieved, the project coordinators continue to work on solutions to improve the support for adjuncts.
Communication between Student Services and Academic Affairs has been improved through a series of meetings and initiatives. The two groups have worked together to continue the “Back on Track” and “Early Start” programs to alert students of their academics standings and help them improve.
They also established an office devoted to graduate studies, reorganized the President’s Executive Council to devote a task force to the Master Academic Plan, and collaborated to work on student retention.
All three objectives were created to promote communication and constant growth among faculty and staff to better serve CSC students.
“Accreditation is about student learning and student success, and I think at Chadron State that’s our passion,” Hyer said.
The next step for CSC in the reaffirmation process is to submit a federal compliance document in December, according to Hyer. Then they must submit a brief assurance argument in March that explains how CSC meets all the criteria of the regional accreditor.

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