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Public forums set up for Higher Learning Commission’s once-every-10-years visit

Site visit on April 22-23 is part of UND’s Reaffirmation of Accreditation process

The Memorial Union will be the site of the Open Forum and Drop-In sessions that the Higher Learning Commission’s reviewing team will host on April 22-23. The HLC team will be conducting a site visit as part of UND’s Reaffirmation of Accreditation process. UND archival photo.

Plans are coming together for the April 22-23 visit to UND by the Higher Learning Commission’s reviewing team – a visit that will play a vital role in UND’s quest to reaffirm its institutional accreditation.

During the two-day visit, the HLC representatives are scheduled to meet with President Armacost, the president’s Executive Council and representatives from the State Board of Higher Education, said Shane Schellpfeffer, UND’s director of Institutional Effectiveness & Accreditation.

The visitors will be given a tour of the campus, invited to meet with multiple groups (such as the Center for Innovation and Indigenous Student Center) and, perhaps most importantly, welcomed to talk and interact with the UND community at no less than seven events.

At those latter events, “the members of the site-visit team will be able to ask questions of the audience, and the audience will be able to ask questions of or give comments to them,” Schellpfeffer said.

“So it’s an opportunity to provide feedback, as it’s helpful for the visitors to get a sense of the campus in that way. And I’d also say that if members of the UND community have an interest in learning more about our institution, then this would be a great opportunity to do so.

“Institutional-level reaffirmation of accreditation occurs only once every 10 years, so now’s your chance to participate if you’re interested in finding out more.”

Five open forums will be held on April 22 and 23 in connection with the visit, Schellpfeffer said.

These forums will be open to students, staff and faculty and, as mentioned, will provide an opportunity to give feedback and discuss each criterion covered in UND’s written Assurance Argument.

The document, a narrative in which the institution explains how it meets the HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation, was submitted to the HLC in March.

Click on the image to learn more about the Higher Learning Commission’s site visit and UND’s Reaffirmation of Accreditation process. Web screenshot.

Candor, enthusiasm and engagement are keys

Each session will be focused on one of the five criteria, which are available to review on the UND website. The schedule is listed below. The site visit team requests in-person attendance at these events. However, remote participation will be available for those off-campus.

Also listed on the schedule are two drop-in sessions. For the HLC site visit team, these two sessions essentially are “office hours,” and will be open for anyone on campus to stop by and visit.

Members of the campus community are invited to introduce themselves and ask questions of the team, as well as talk about UND.

In preparation for the open forums and other events, members of the UND community may want to consider the kinds of questions the HLC reviewers might ask. For example, the five Criteria for Accreditation cover such topics as the institution’s mission, integrity – is the institution’s conduct ethical and responsible? – and educational quality. So, the HLC reviewers may ask an audience:

* How do faculty, staff and administration work toward accomplishing UND’s mission and vision?

* Does the University have appropriate policies and procedures in place?

* For our students, what do you like best about UND? What would you like to see changed?

* How do co-curricular activities and programs contribute to the educational experience?

* What is UND doing to create a campus environment that is welcoming, inclusive and diverse?

* In what ways do faculty and students contribute to scholarship, creative work and the discovery of knowledge at UND?

* How do you describe UND to prospective students?

* How are the faculty and staff participating in the life of the university and in the planning for the future?

Understand, the inquiries are not meant to be “gotcha!” questions, Schellpfeffer stressed. Instead, the HLC team simply consists of already well-informed observers who’ll be doing their best to learn more about UND and its strength, weaknesses and effectiveness.

In other words, “there’s no need to be nervous when participating in one of these sessions,” Schellpfeffer said. Instead, the best advice might be to be enthusiastic about everything you do for UND and be prepared — by familiarizing yourself with UND’s mission and vision, and thinking of real-world examples that show those principles at work.

Candor, enthusiasm and engagement by the UND community will be the keys to a successful site visit, he said.

All open forum sessions will be held in the Memorial Union’s Room 318. Drop-in sessions will be held in Room 340.

The schedule for the open forum and drop-in sessions is as follows:

Monday, April 22

10:30 – 11:45 a.m. – Drop-in session for UND community

1 – 1:50 p.m. – Open Forum Session: Criterion 2 “Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct”

2 – 2:50 p.m. – Open Forum Session: Criterion 3 “Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support”

3 – 3:50 p.m. – Open Forum Session: Criterion 5 “Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning”


Tuesday, April 23

9 – 9:50 a.m. – Open Forum Session: Criterion 1 “Mission”

9:15 – 10:45 a.m. – Drop-in session for UND community

10 – 10:50 a.m. – Open Forum Session: Criterion 4 “Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement”