Accreditation Renewed by Higher Learning Commission
JONESBORO – The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the regional accrediting body for Arkansas State University, has notified Chancellor Kelly Damphousse of its decision to accept the visiting team's report on Arkansas State, thereby renewing the institution's accreditation. The HLC team visited the campus for a comprehensive review in early March.
A letter from HLC President Barbara Gellman-Danley said the Institutional Actions Council of the HLC, the institution's regional accreditor, accepted the team report last week. HLC accredits the institution, not individual academic programs.
"Having regional accreditation is vital to the future of our campus, because it affirms to the world our significant efforts to ensure educational excellence, academic rigor, student success, and that our faculty and staff have the resources they need to be successful,” said Damphousse.
In the modern higher education environment, HLC has additional mandates from the U.S. Department of Education (USDE) and state coordinating/governing boards like the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board.
"Regional accreditation, for example, authenticates A-State’s eligibility for government support," Damphousse said. "This means that our students who qualify for need-based scholarships (such as Pell Grants) can use government funds to pay for their A-State education. In other words, regional accreditation opens access to students who would not otherwise be able to attend college."
Dr. Lynita Cooksey, provost, emphasized the work accomplished since the last report, saying "We made great progress toward the concerns HLC had expressed after their last visit. The team was particularly impressed with our progress in the area of assessment.”
HLC most recently reviewed the campus in 2013-2014. The review expressed concerns about A-State’s commitment to student-learning assessment, resulting in A-State being placed into the most rigorous category of accreditation: the "Standard Pathway." The Standard Pathway requires a full site visit and comprehensive report at the mid-point in the traditional 10-year accreditation cycle.
Chancellor Damphousse continued, "I am so thankful for the leadership of Provost Cooksey, who along with Dr. Summer Deprow performed an incredible feat bringing order to our student-learning assessment program, and to our faculty and staff members who volunteered to serve on the A-State Assessment Committee, the Program-Level Assessment Committee, and the Co-Curricular Assessment Committee. Assessment is a self-check system that allows us to be certain we are carrying out our mission, and when it is done right, can help us improve what we are doing.”
ASU System President Charles L. Welch also commented on A-State’s HLC report, noting the significance of its findings.
“The results of this report are very impressive and speak directly to the great work of our faculty and staff,” he said. “This report also illustrates the evaluating team’s belief that our university is headed in the right direction. We have much to be proud of and much to be excited about moving forward.”
Arkansas State was first accredited in 1928, and has had continuous accreditation since that time.
# # #