The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region of the United States.
HLC’s mission is: Serving the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.
Through an agreement between the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and CASI (the Commission on Accreditation and School Improvement), the North Central Association was dissolved in 2014. The dissolution of the North Central Association and the liquidation of its assets, announced in July 2014, had no effect on the accreditation of any institution. There was no change in the standards or process for accreditation of institutions by HLC and there was no effect on HLC’s federal recognition as a Title IV gatekeeper.
After 2001, when HLC and CASI incorporated as separate and independent corporations that accredit educational institutions at all levels, the North Central Association had no role in the accreditation process and existed solely to hold the Association’s property, including its name, trademarks and records.
As of the fall of 2014, institutions should revise their descriptive information to delete information indicating that they are members of the North Central Association. Instead, institutions should continue to describe themselves as members of HLC. Any third-party references to accreditation of degree-granting institutions of higher education by the North Central Association should be construed as referring to accreditation of these institutions by HLC.
The five criteria for accreditation that will be in effect when OSUIT comes up for re-accreditation in 2020 are:
- Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
- Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
- Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
- Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
Components of these criteria and examples of evidence that support these components can be found on the HLC website. Additionally, HLC looks for the university showing continuous improvement.
The campus will prepare the Assurance Argument Report, based on the criteria, and submit it to the HLC in Spring 2020. An evaluation team from the HLC is scheduled to come to campus on March 9-10, 2020.
The last full accreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission was in 2010. OSUIT undergoes regular monitoring and reviews based upon HLC’s Open Pathways 10-Year Cycle.
- An HLC Assurance Steering Committee was formed
- Criterion Teams have been formed to collect evidence to support each criterion
- Members of the committee and selected staff and faculty were tasked to draft the Assurance Argument
These groups have worked together to help prepare the campus for the 2020 visit. For more information on how you can help the campus to prepare, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The campus will be visited by a Peer Review Team of trained Consultant Evaluators. These are administrators, staff, and faculty who have been accepted to the Peer Review Corps by the HLC. All will have gone through training for such visits and will be familiar with the evaluation Criteria.
The institution will need to look carefully at the report, both for the validation of the things that we are doing well and for advice about ways in which we can improve what we are doing. Particular issues may be referred to appropriate committees and offices for examination and action.
At that point, we continue our ongoing commitment to quality improvement as we look forward to the 4-year Assurance Review. That is similar to the 10-year review, however, it does not include a site visit unless something was found that needed further attention as mentioned above.