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K-State Today

May 18, 2016



Midcycle assurance review with Higher Learning Commission completed

By Brian Niehoff, Associate Provost for Institutional Effectiveness

Kansas State University recently completed its midcycle assurance review with the Higher Learning Commission. After reviewing documents and evidence uploaded into its reporting system, the commission has communicated that K-State meets all of the criteria for accreditation, and thus no further action or special monitoring is necessary at this time.

K-State was recertified for its institutional accreditation with the commission in 2012, which included a self-study report and a site visit from the Higher Learning Commission peer review team. Institutional accreditation is necessary in order for the university to be able to participate in Title IV funding and other federal programs. The commission is one of five regional agencies that oversee accreditation for participating higher educational institutions.

In recent years, the commission altered its processes for institutional recertification. In the past, institutions were primarily reviewed in the 10th year of their accreditation cycle, with no required activities during years one through nine, unless specific issues were to be undertaken or specialized monitoring was necessary.

In 2013, the commission instituted a new 10 year process, Open Pathways, which included the addition of a number of activities to be addressed during years one through nine. The first added activity is the midcycle assurance review, or Assurance Argument Report, in the fourth year. This review involves the uploading of documents and evidence files onto the commission's web-based system for review. These documents offer evidence that demonstrate the institution is maintaining its performance relative to the criteria for accreditation.

All three documents — the K-State Assurance Argument report, the peer review team report, and the results letter from the commission — can be found on the Office of Assessment website.

The next activity in the 10-year cycle is for the institution to develop a quality improvement project. This project should reflect a priority of the university in an area of focus that is meaningful and in which investments will be made. The institution's proposal for the quality improvement project should be submitted to the commission in the coming year or two. Discussions regarding the area of focus for the quality improvement project will begin in fall 2016.

Once approved, the institution will move forward on the project, with a final report due in the ninth year of the commission's review cycle, or 2021. The university will then undergo its 10-year self-study in 2022, with another site visit from the Higher Learning Commission peer review team.