Monthly Accreditation Forum May 23 Focuses on Mission, Strategic Plan


Las Vegas, N.M. – Highlands University’s monthly accreditation forum May 23 focused on accomplishments for the mission and strategic plan.

“Over the past two years, we’ve focused on closing the loop of moving from the strategic plan to concrete accomplishments to improve the student experience at Highlands,” said Brandon Kempner, who directs the university’s Higher Learning Commission accreditation and presented the forum.

Kempner and Sam Minner, the university’s president, are co-chairing the steering committee to resolve the HLC concerns.

“We have a strong case of concrete highlights that support every single strategic goal, starting with the first goal of achieving academic excellence,” Minner said. “We’re on a good path.”

Minner said the university’s Board of Regent approved the mission and strategic goals in February 2016.

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.

Strategic Goals 2020:

  •  #1 Highlands University will achieve academic excellence, academic integration and student success.
  • #2 Highlands University will achieve strategic enrollment management.
  • #3 Highlands University will achieve a vibrant campus life.
  • #4 Highlands University will be a community partner.
  • #5 Highlands University will achieve technological advancement and innovation.
  • #6 Highlands University will achieve enhanced communication and efficiency.

A document highlighting strategic goal accomplishments to date is on the university’s accreditation website Use the updates and news link and then the link for Mission Accomplishments 2016-2017.

In addition, information about Highlands’ strategic plans and budget requests for all academic and other entities are on the university’s accreditation website at Use the evidence archive link and then the link for Strategic Plans and Budget Requests 2016-2017.

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.

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.