CSC prepares for accreditation visit
CSC submitted an assurance argument to the Higher Learning Commission Thursday, as the last step to renewing accreditation before HLC reviewers visit campus.
HLC accepted CSC’s quality initiative report in September 2016, which began the reaffirmation process.
CSC hired Katherine Bahr, retired CSC English professor, to be the lead writer on the argument and Margaret Crouse, retired dean for the school of education, human performance, counseling, psychology and social work, to assist her. They have been working on the project for more than a year. Numerous other faculty members submitted artifacts to be used as evidence in the 35,000-word argument.
“Basically it’s us telling the story of who we are,” Dean of the School of Liberal Arts James Margetts said. “I think it’s a very fair representation of us.”
Margetts said there were five key points that HLC was looking for in the argument: the institution’s mission, evidence of student learning, evidence of adequate operational resources, appropriate policies and procedures for fair treatment, and proof that a high-quality education is provided.
Margetts said CSC used information collected from student surveys as part of the basis for identifying problem areas on campus and making improvements.
“It helps us see what we’re good at, and what we want to be better at,” Margetts said.
The report details CSC’s strengths and weaknesses, and also the things that the school is actively working to change.
HLC will send four reviewers to campus April 24-25 to assess the accuracy of the argument. Each reviewer comes from a different place and background, but all have worked at some level within a college before.
While in Chadron they will meet with students, faculty, and administration, and tour the campus buildings. They will also hold an open forum on campus, open to CSC students only, to obtain their opinions on the capabilities of the school.
After the campus visit, the reviewers will issue a report of their findings to the HLC board, who will decide if CSC is acceptable for accreditation renewal. Three outcomes are possible: accreditation granted without any follow-up concerns, a follow-up visit will be required to address small remaining issues, or the school could be put on probation. Margetts said he does not anticipate there being any major issues.
After that, HLC will do a virtual site visit in 2021 as a sort of check-up, which is a new policy they have started.
Accreditation is important because it shows that students graduating from this school have met or exceeded high standards and are therefore favorable candidates in the work force. It is sort of a “stamp of approval” that CSC is a highly credible institution, Margetts said.