Commencement '23 Information -- CLICK HERE --

Commencement '23 Information -- CLICK HERE --

Institutional Accreditation


HLC Newsletters and Updates

Timeline / Calendar

HLC Forums

Key HLC Documents

Everything you need to know about accreditation

Comprehensive Visit was February 28, 2022-March 1, 2022

Background Information

The 4-Year comprehensive visit from our regional accreditor, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), is required of all institutions that have been placed on the Standard pathway due to recent issues with accreditation. Results and the report of the peer-reviewers of the HLC will be ready approximately in May of 2022. Below are the some other dates of visits with the HLC.

10/25/2020:      Focused Visit

06/28/2018:      Probation Continue Accreditation

08/31/2016:       Comprehensive Evaluation/Probation

Much like a full-scale comprehensive visit at the start of a 10-year cycle, this 4-year visit reviewed all areas of Highlands under these 5-criteria of the HLC:

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

As each carry equal weight regarding the outcome of the overall visit, each was fully covered in the Assurance Argument.

Contact information
Higher Learning Commission230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, Illinois 60604-1411Phone: 800-621-7440 / 312-263-0456 | Fax: 312-263-7462 |

Assurance Argument

The argument was worked on for many months by the Accreditation Team, multiple criterion committees, and by individuals whose area of specialization is under review. This document was sent to the HLC Peer Reviewers who visited the campus (two in-person and three virtually).

As each argument is based on the Mission and Vision Statements established by the Board of Regents, it is important both to Highlands and the reviewers that these be clearly defined and understood by both.

As a point of clarification, the argument is written based on the results of the works done across campus. The Accreditation Team is constituted to ask for this information, but is not necessarily involved in the creation of the works.

University Mission, Vision and Values

Mission: New Mexico Highlands University is a public comprehensive university serving our local and global communities. Our mission is to provide opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students to attain an exceptional education by fostering creativity, critical thinking and research in the liberal arts, sciences, and professions within a diverse community.

Vision: Our vision is to be a premier comprehensive university transforming lives and communities now and for generations to come.

Our Core Values are defined as: Diversity, Accessibility, Responsiveness, Excellence

These statements lead to our HU Visions 2025 strategic plan (below).

These strategic plan goals further drive Unit Strategic Plans, policies, procedures, handbooks, manuals, etc. that influence and give direction on day-to-day decisions made at Highlands.

HU Vision 2025 Strategic Plan.

Approved by:

Faculty Senate, Sept. 9, 2020

Staff Senate, Sept. 9, 2020

General Faculty, Sept. 23, 2020

Student Senate, Sept. 27, 2020

Board of Regents, Oct. 9, 2020

What a campus visit required:
  • Employees available for individual or group meetings with the HLC reviewers as requested.
  • Employees prepared to answer questions from HLC reviewers on their areas of responsibility.
  • Employees to be familiar with the mission, vision, values, and current strategic plan goals.
  • Anyone with questions about the visit should contact Keith Tucker at

2022 Evidence File Comprehensive Visit

Focused Visits

2020 Evidence File Focused Visit

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 used this  opportunity to develop new programs and initiatives to guide us into a new and positive future.

In their final report removing the university from probation, the HLC did however indicate three areas of continuing concern. In order to address these three areas of concern, the university hosted an HLC Focused Visit on October 5-6, 2020. This visit was rescheduled from the previously set date of June 30, 2020, due to the pandemic’s travel restrictions at the time. The Focused Visit basically consisted of a small team of peer reviewers who visited Highlands, three of whom did virtually with one on-campus, to determine whether the university had fully and appropriately addressed those three areas of concern. Along with the focused visit, the university was expected to produce an evidence report demonstrating that we have addressed each of the three areas of concern.

After the focused visit concluded, the peer reviewer sent their recommendations to Highland’s HLC Staff Liaison and the HLC Institutional Actions Council (IAC). The IAC is a 40-member review council that acts on all recommendations regarding HLC actions. Based on the recommendations of the peer reviewers the IAC found that Highlands had met all concerns in the three areas under review. As such, Highlands is fully accredited without concerns as of November 11, 2020.

Evidence File for Focused Visit

HLC Focused Visit Report (final version January 2020)

The next scheduled reaffirmation visit, known as the 4-Year Review, will be in February 2022.

If you have any questions about HLC, please contact Keith Tucker, the Accreditation Liaison Officer for Highlands University, at

How You Can Help with the HLC Process: Highlands University, and all institutions overseen by the HLC, are on a continuous 10-year cycle for accreditation review. Certain reporting requirements continue during these timeframes meaning that we are under constant review.

So you can join at any time with a voluntary commitment in the HLC cycle:

We have 5 HLC Criterion committees: These committees will help to ensure that we have assembled adequate and appropriate documentation to demonstrate compliance in all areas of concern. The sub-committees will also help to prepare the written evidence 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 HLC Forums, review videos and other material produced and sent to the campus periodically, and join a committee.

Provide support as appropriate in all areas of concern: Although we all have our own clearly defined responsibilities at HU, 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 all areas of concern.

Communicate: Please let us know of any concerns, suggestions, or recommendations you may have with respect to the accreditation process. You can contact Keith Tucker, the Accreditation Liaison Officer for Highlands University, at

Accreditation Overview

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

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 or by phone at 312-263-0456.

For Highlands-specific questions, please contact us at

Institutional Accreditation

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

NMHU Accreditation Status

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 or by phone at 312-263-0456.

For Highlands-specific questions, please contact us at

Program specific accreditation:

Several specific programs at Highlands University are also accredited by specialized accrediting agencies. These programs are listed below.

School of Business, Media and Technology

Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP)

11520 West 119th Street
Overland Park, KS 66213
Accredited every 10 years; first accredited 1997; next accreditation 2027

Approval Letter
Institutional Report

School of Education

Rehabilitation Counseling – Council for Accreditation of Counseling & Related Educational Programs (CACREP), Previously CORE
500 Montgomery Street, Suite 350
Alexandria, VA 22314
Phone: 703-535-5990
Accredited every 8 years; first accredited 2017; next accreditation 2023

Approval Letter

State of New Mexico
New Mexico Public Education Department (NMPED)
Higher Education Department (HED)

120 S Federal PI STE 105
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Phone: 505-476-8400
Accredited every 6 years, first accredited in 2012, next accreditation 2022

TITLE II REPORTS: National Teacher Preparation Data

National Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), Previously NCATE
1140 19th St, Suite 400
Washington DC, 20036
Accredited every 6 years; first accredited in 2012; next accreditation 2026

Approval Letter

Chemistry Program

American Chemical Society
1155 Sixteenth Street N.W.
Washington, DC 20036
Phone: 800-333-9511
First approved 1950, next approval 2022

Approval Letter
Periodic Report

School of Social Work

Council on Social Work Education (CSWE)

333 John Carlyle Street, Suite 400
Alexandria, VA 22314
BSW accredited every 8 years; first accredited in 1976; next accreditation 2028
MSW accredited every 8 years; first accredited in 1978; next accreditation 2028

BSW Approval Letter
MSW Approval Letter

Nursing Program

Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE)

655 K Street, NW Suite 750
Washington, DC 20001
P 202-887-6791
F 202-887-8476
Accredited every 10 years; first accredited in 2009; next accreditation 2024

Approval Letter
Periodic Report


Psychology Masters Program, Clinical/Counseling Track

Masters in Psychology and Counseling Accreditation Council

595 New Loudon Road, #265
Latham, NY  12110
Accredited every 8 years; first accredited in 2011; next accreditation May 2022

Approval Letter
Interim Report

Forestry Major, Management and Wildland Fire Concentrations

Society of American Foresters

2121 K Street, NW, Suite 315
Washington, DC 20037
Phone: 301.897.8720
First accredited 2014, last site visit and accreditation review 2019, next site visit and accreditation review 2030