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Monmouth undergoing accreditation renewal

March 16, 2018

On March 5th, Monmouth College put out a call for public comments on the college in preparation for the periodic evaluation of the Higher Learning Commission that will take place in October of this year. This evaluation occurs on a 10-year basis with two visits and is comprised of four or five peer reviewers that evaluate the assurance argument of each school. If a school is not accredited by an organization then they cannot issue federal monetary aid. The process is meticulous and requires a mass amount of data from each school.

The Higher Education Act of 1965 was the first federal regulation which required an institution to be accredited by a regional or national accreditor for its students to be eligible for federal financial aid. In 1895, the Higher Learning Commission was founded and identified as an independent corporation and acts as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. The HLC operates in the North Central Region by accrediting post-secondary educational institutions that grant degrees to their students. These scheduled visits are more than just a check-up; they are ways for institutions to receive advice on how to improve themselves.

There are many factors that must be considered when a school is being renewed for accreditation. There are five criterions: mission, integrity (ethical and responsible conduct), teaching and learning (quality, resources, and support), teaching and learning (evaluation and improvement), and resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness. The important aspect to note about this criteria is that no institution is perfect, and every school has something they can improve on. The only way that an institution can be approved or pass on a single criterion is if they are honest about their progress and back it up with evidence. The evidence is needed for the general public, governmental bodies, prospective students, and their parents.

One of the peer reviewers for Monmouth College is Accounting Professor Frank Gersich who shares the duty of overseeing each criterion committee. There is a total of 29 members in the committees, which are comprised of faculty, staff, and the administration. They meet every few weeks to discuss each portion of the criterion, analyze data, discuss, and revise the assurance argument. When asked if it is hindering or advantageous to have so many different personalities and perspectives in the committees, Gersich said it was advantageous. “Every once in a while, people will butt heads, but ultimately these differing perspectives change the assurance argument for the better.”

More information about the Higher Learning Commission and upcoming public forums will be released next fall semester.

Riley Hess
Editor in Chief

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