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Institutional Accreditation

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Focused Visit 2020

On July 9, 2018, Highlands University was formally removed from probationary status by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The entire Highlands community worked together to address the areas of concern specified by the HLC that led to our probationary status. The university now has the opportunity to develop new programs and initiatives to guide us into a new and positive future.

However, in their final report removing the university from probation, the HLC did indicate three areas of continuing concern. In order to address these three areas of concern, the university will host a focused visit from the HLC during the 2019-20 academic year (most likely spring 2020). A focused visit basically consists of a small team of peer reviewers who will visit Highlands to determine whether the university has fully and appropriately addressed those three areas of concern. Along with the focused visit, the university will be expected to produce a monitoring report for each of the three areas of concern.

In order to prepare for the focused visit and to draft the monitoring report, we have formed a steering committee to guide the university through the general process. Additionally, we have formed a sub-committee for each of the three areas of concern to ensure that we have provided adequate documentation to address each area.

If you have any questions about the focused visit, or are interested in serving on one of the sub-committees, please contact Lee Allard, the Accreditation Liaison Officer for Highlands University, at lallard@nmhu.edu.

How You Can Help

As noted above, Highlands University has been removed from probation, but is required to host a Focused Visit in 2020 to demonstrate that we have met the concerns of the HLC. It is critical that the university successfully demonstrates compliance with HLC expectations during this Focused Visit. The HLC visiting committee that recommended that HU be taken off probation noted in their concluding remarks: “The Team is recommending that the many remarkable efforts that went into improvements on so many levels should now be focused on the demonstration and clear evidence of improvement on these three areas that are critical to the future of the University. If that cannot be done in two years, the Team is recommending that the school be placed on Notice.” Clearly we are not out of the woods yet. To ensure that we can emerge from the Focused Visit with a clean slate, we need a concerted effort from all members of the HU community. Here are some ways you can help:

Join one of the HLC sub-committees: As noted above these sub-committees will help to ensure that we have assembled adequate and appropriate documentation to demonstrate compliance in each of the three areas of concern. The sub-committees will also help to prepare the written report that will be submitted to the HLC.

Be informed! Try to be as informed as possible about the accreditation process. This helps to ensure that everyone is working towards a common cause and understands the importance of the accreditation process. A great way to stay informed is to attend the HLC Forums, of which there will be three in spring 2019 (see above link for details). Even though we are off probation, there is still an urgency to ensuring that we remain in full compliance with all HLC expectations. The next time we are sanctioned by HLC (and hopefully there won’t be a next time!) will have far worse consequences than the first time.

Provide support as appropriate in the three areas of concern: Although we all have our own clearly defined responsibilities at HU, the three areas of concern are fairly general and touch on all aspects of institutional functioning. Any point of contact we make with potential students or with current students can help in our recruitment and enrollment efforts. We can all work together to help ensure fiscal responsibility in all areas of university functioning. Timely and thorough participation in institutional planning and assessment efforts will help with the third area of concern.

Communicate: Please let us know of an concerns, suggestions, or recommendations you may have with respect to the accreditation process. You can contact Lee Allard, the HLC liaison for the university, at lallard@nmhu.edu.

Accreditation Overview

Highlands University is fully accredited by and in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission.

The Higher Learning Commission accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities that have a home base in one of 19 states that stretch from West Virginia to Arizona. HLC is a private, nonprofit regional accrediting agency.

HLC’s mission is to assure and advance the quality of higher learning. It is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. The institutions HLC accredits include public, private not-for-profit, and proprietary institutions at degree levels from the associate’s through the doctoral degree level and from small, specialized institutions through large research universities.

Faculty, staff, students, parents, and others from the general public with questions regarding HLC’s work should contact the Higher Learning Commission by email at info@hlcommission.org or by phone at 312-263-0456.

For Highlands specific questions, please contact us at hlcinfo@nmhu.edu.

For further information about prior accreditation activities, including our 2017-18 Assurance Argument, please click here.

For information about program level accreditation, please refer to the OIER website.