Monthly Accreditation Forum February 20

Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University’s monthly accreditation forum Feb. 20 highlighted student retention, persistence and degree completion.

In addition, the date for the Higher Learning Commission’s campus visit to Highlands will be Nov. 6 – 8, 2017.

“The Office of Strategic Enrollment Management is now using extensive student data to target our retention efforts to have the greatest impact,” said Brandon Kempner, who is directing the university’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accreditation. “The office has identified five strategies to improve retention.”

Kempner, a Highlands English professor, presented the forum. He and Highlands President Sam Minner are co-chairing the steering committee to resolve the HLC concerns.

“Retention is critical from the Higher Learning Commission’s perspective, but also ethically as a university we want our students to join us, graduate, and go on to meaningful and successful lives,” said Minner at the forum.

In January 2016, Minner created the Office of Strategic Enrollment Management (SEM) at Highlands and appointed Edward Martínez as vice president to lead SEM. Martínez is a natural resources management professor at the university.

Details about the university’s retention activities are on the university’s accreditation website at Use the evidence link at the top of the page and then the Ruffalo Noel Levitz (RNL) retention link. The university is working with RNL, a leading global firm specializing in optimizing retention and enrollment management.

Among the online evidence documents is a report Martínez prepared summarizing retention activities from January 2016 – January 2017.

Videos of the monthly accreditation forums are posted on the university’s accreditation website. In addition, all the forums are broadcast in real time using a live-streaming technology called Zoom with the university’s statewide centers, as well as others unable to attend the forums in person.

The Higher Learning Commission is Highlands University’s accreditor. On Aug. 31, 2016, the HLC placed Highlands on probation, noting areas that needed improvement including retention.

Highlands is still accredited with the the Higher Learning Commission while the university works to address the concerns the HLC identified.

An accreditation FAQs page for Highlands is online at

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

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


For specific questions about Highlands’ accreditation, please contact us at