Is Chicago State University currently accredited?
Yes, by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)
When will the next HLC re-accreditation visit take place?
The campus will prepare a self-study report, based on the new criteria, and submit
it to the HLC 2012-2013. An evaluation team from the HLC has not been scheduled to
date. The last full accreditation visit from the North Central Association was in
April 2003. Re-accreditation usually takes place in a ten-year cycle. In July 2009,
the campus was notified that it must participate in a Focused Visit from HLC evaluators
to examine a few areas that received critical attention during the 2003 visit and
appeared in subsequent reports in 2006 and 2009.
When will the HLC Focused Visit take place?
A Team from the HLC is scheduled to come to campus January, February or March 2010.
What is the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)? What happened to the North Central Association
The Higher Learning Commission is the newly-renamed arm of the North Central Association
(NCA) of Colleges and Schools that is responsible for the accreditation of colleges,
universities and other institutions of higher learning. The full title used to be
North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. The new
name is simpler and reflects the shift in higher education toward accountability for
What is the NCA?
The North Central Association is one of six regional associations that accredit schools
and colleges in the United States. The other five are the Middle States, New England,
Northwest, Southern and Western Associations. Although most of the colleges and universities
that the NCA Higher Learning Commission accredits are in the upper Midwest, its geographical
range extends from West Virginia to Arizona.
What is HLC accreditation? Why is it important?
While many academic agencies accredit particular programs of study (education, nursing,
etc.), the Higher Learning Commission and other regional accrediting agencies are
responsible for assuring that colleges and universities meet certain standards in
terms of their missions, operations, and activities in teaching and student learning,
discovery and promotion of knowledge, and service. Accreditation is an assurance to
the public that an institution is properly prepared to do its job. On a more practical
level, the HLC and the other accrediting agencies have been designated as the "gatekeepers"
for federal funds in higher education. Unaccredited schools are not eligible for many
kinds of federal support. For more information, see the HLC website.
What does the HLC look for when it accredits colleges and universities?
Along with the change of name, the HLC has just adopted a new set of criteria for
evaluation that went into effect January 1, 2005. The current criteria can be found
The five new criteria areas, which will be in effect when CSU comes up for re-accreditation
- Mission and Integrity
- Preparing for the Future
- Student Learning and Effective Teaching
- Acquisition, Discovery and Application of Knowledge
- Engagement and Service
How is the campus preparing for the HLC Focused Visit in 2010?
A Task Force comprised of the provost, faculty, deans, representatives from the offices
of enrollment services and institutional research, students and a representative of
the Board of Trustees has been established to identify effective enrollment strategies
for universal implementation at CSU; to disseminate this information to the University
community for feedback and discussion; to facilitate implementation for the spring
2010 term; make recommendations for sustainability to the new enrollment management
vice president; and to help prepare the campus community for the Focused Visit.
Who will be on the HLC Focused Visit Team?
The campus will be visited by a Peer Review Team of trained Consultant Evaluators,
possibly 2-5 members. These are administrators, staff people, and faculty who have
been accepted to the Peer Review Corps by the HLC. All will have gone through training
for such visits and will be familiar with review process. Most of the team members
will be experienced reviewers. Information regarding the team composition is forthcoming
and will be shared when it becomes available.
What will the team do during the visit?
The team will already have received the June 2009 Progress Report and 2006 Monitoring
Report and will have had access to information on the web. During the visit, they
will be seeking to validate the content of the Progress and Monitoring Reports in
terms of the strengths we have declared and data that support them, as well as concerns
that need attention or issues that may confront us in the future. Team members will
have meetings with key individuals and groups from across the campus and will have
open meetings that are less structured. Most of these activities will take place in
January, February or March 2010. The team will make an Exit Report on their preliminary
Recent Actions Taken
The Focused Visit will confirm that the CSU community has taken the Higher Learning
Commission’s concerns seriously, and it is ready to provide evidence that supports
how we have improved enrollment management, including customer service at the University.
Such indicators will include but not limited to the following actions taken:
- allocated permanent funding for marketing and recruitment for the first time;
- enhanced registration process planning during the summer 2009 term and implementation
fall 2009 term;
- conducted search for Vice President for Enrollment Management;
- established Advisory Task Force for preparation for the Focused Team Visit;
- established retention goals for each college effective fall 2009 term;
- implemented on-line Early Warning System that monitors students’ academic progress
during each 4-week interval to determine students’ academic support needs such as
- collected satisfaction surveys to identify strengths and determine areas for improvement
(i.e., Enhanced Registration—including book vouchers loaded on students’ One Card,
new direct deposit process, health insurance waivers, photo IDs, trolley car transportation
between buildings, free parking, use of staff volunteers, etc.); and Student Loan
- developed the one-year course schedule for the fall 2010 and spring 2011;
- extended hours of operation with staffing for the library, fitness center, game room,
- initiated the identification of a consultant with expertise in the HLC self-study
process to assist in the accreditation process;
- enhanced communication to new students;
- embarked on campus beautification program;
- established University and college retention goals as reflected in the President’s
- increased the number of placement examinations offered both on campus and online;
- increased the number of student orientations.
All of the aforementioned initiatives have begun, with the support of the CSU Board
of Trustees, and through assessment will be improved if necessary. We will enhance
the participation of the University community at all levels in the enrollment management
process. Further, we hope to enhance collaboration and become more transparent through
soliciting input and making available relative information regarding the process in
forums such as the All Campus Assembly, other scheduled meetings and via postings
on the University’s web. Lastly, we hope to come together as one in our effort to
maintain continued accreditation status. It is critical that this effort becomes