Higher Learning Commission

Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation

IU South Bend is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC reviews colleges and universities every 10 years to ensure that they continue to meet the criteria for accreditation through a peer review process. Accreditation affects many aspects of the university, including financial aid eligibility, course transfers, and the overall value of a degree. IU South Bend will be reviewed for reaffirmation of accreditation during the Fall semester of 2017.

On February 24, 2012, the Commission Board of Trustees adopted new Criteria for Accreditation, Assumed Practices, and Obligations of Affiliation. They are effective for all institutions as of January 1, 2013.

The five criterion are:

  1. Mission
  2. Integrity: Ethical and responsible conduct
  3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
  4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
  5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components

Note | On February 24, 2012, the Commission Board of Trustees adopted new Criteria for Accreditation, Assumed Practices, and Obligations of Affiliation. The final versions appear below. They are effective for all institutions as of January 1, 2013.

In the past the Criteria for Accreditation had been reviewed in their entirety every five years. Beginning in 2013, the Board will consider clarifying modifications to the Criteria, including the Assumed Practices, annually, usually with first reading in February and second reading in June.

The first such update has been posted in the policies and is available in the Criteria Booklet. It includes minor changes to Assumed Practices A.7.a, b, c, B.1.b, c, C.5, D.5, and D.6, and Institutional Obligation 13. In February 2013, the Board accepted the changes on first reading. The proposed changes were shared with institutions and comments invited. The Board took final action on the modifications on June 28, 2013. They are effective immediately.

Pathways to Accreditation

There are several pathways to HLC accreditation. IU South Bend will use the Open Pathway, which is for institutions that have been accredited for at least ten years, have not undergone major changes, and do not have a history of sanctions or major concerns.

The Open Pathway accreditation review has two basic components. First, the institution is required to conduct a self-study to determine if the five criteria have been satisfied and file a report on its findings with the HLC. A team of HLC consultant-evaluators will visit the campus in 2017 to verify the accuracy of the self-study report and offer suggestions. This is called the Assurance Process.

Second, the institution proposes and completes a Quality Initiative that meets its present concerns or aspirations. Institutions may design their own QI, choose one from a menu of topics, or participate in an HLC-facilitated program. The proposal for a QI is peer-reviewed. At the end of the initiative or in Year 9, the institution sends a report to the HLC, which is peer-reviewed.

Assurance Process

The institution is required to conduct a self-study to determine if the five criteria have been satisfied and file a report on its findings with the HLC. A team of HLC consultant-evaluators will visit the campus in 2017 to verify the accuracy of the self-study report and offer suggestions. This is called the Assurance Process.

The HLC Steering Committee members will write the arguments supporting each criteria, linking the arguments to supporting documents such as the mission statement, program assessments, and institutional data. These materials are uploaded to the HLC Dashboard, which is password-protected.

Vision 2020 is a small grants program that focuses campus attention, creativity, and resources on increasing student success. This program serves as an incubator that will provide resources, information, and encouragement to project teams who have good ideas for increasing student learning, engagement, and other predictors of student persistence, retention, and timely graduation. Projects are funded for a pilot year and for up to two years of implementation. After that point, successful projects will seek internal funding as a line in the base budget, or external funding. These successful projects ... (see more)