Institutional Accreditation


HLC Newsletters and Updates

Timeline / Calendar

HLC Forums

Key HLC Documents

Please fully read this page for information about what HLC accreditation work has been done at NMHU and for information on upcoming visits, or contact the HLC Director Dr. Keith Tucker at for specific questions

The next scheduled full comprehensive reaffirmation visit will be in 2027 or 2028.

Focused Visit Fall 2025

The exact date will not be known until closer to the event.

The visit will focus on Criterion 4B and 5B. More information and the letter informing the institution of the visit is here.

Visit the page on the focused visit here.

Comprehensive Visit – February 28 & March 01, 2022

Background Information

The 4-Year comprehensive visit from our 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 of that visit were received June 26, 2023. 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

A full-scale comprehensive visit occurs at the start of a 10-year cycle and at year-4. These visits review all areas of NMHU under these 5 criterion’s 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 is fully covered in the institution’s 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 |

Key words and terms within HLC accreditation

Assurance Argument

This “argument” is worked on for many months by the Accreditation Team, multiple criterion committees, and by individuals whose area of specialization is under review. This document is sent to the HLC Peer Reviewers who visit the campus. While called an argument, it is really more a comprehensive report outlining how the institution meets each criterion.

Each argument is based on the Mission and Vision Statements established by the Board of Regents, so it is important both to NMHU 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.

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 NMHU.

HU Vision 2025 Strategic Plan.

Campus visit requirements
  • 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 Dr. Keith Tucker at

Focused Visits

2025 Evidence File Focused Visit

2022 Evidence File Comprehensive Visit

2020 Evidence File Focused Visit

On June 26, 2023, NMHU was notified that the accreditation for the institution was reaffirmed. This report also called for a return visit from the HLC in fall of 2025.

On July 9, 2018, NMHU was formally removed from probationary status by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

In each case, the entire Highlands community worked together to address the areas of concern specified by the HLC. The university used this  opportunity to develop new programs and initiatives to guide us into a new and positive future. This report led to a return visit to campus by the HLC in 2020.

Focused Visits consist of a small team of peer reviewers who visit NMHU 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 area of concern.

After the focused visit concluded, the peer reviewers send their recommendations to the NMHU President and HLC Director, and the HLC Institutional Actions Council (IAC). The IAC is a 40-member review council that acts on all recommendations regarding HLC actions. This council then forwards the report with their recommendation to the HLC Board of Trustees. Based on the recommendations of the peer reviewers and the IAC, the HLC Board issues a final report after the focused visit.

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 time-frames 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 NMHU, 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 Dr. Keith Tucker, the Accreditation Liaison Officer for NMHU, at

HLC Institutional Accreditation

NMHU Accreditation Status: fully accredited by and in good standing with the Higher Learning Commission

The Higher Learning Commission accredits approximately 1,000 colleges and universities in 19 states. 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.

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