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Northwestern to Undergo Re-accreditation in 2015

Led by the Office of the Provost, process will involve faculty, staff and students

EVANSTON, Ill. --- In April 2015, Northwestern University will undergo its decennial review for reaffirmation of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association for Colleges and Schools.

The upcoming comprehensive evaluation will include three key components:

  • An assessment of whether Northwestern meets the commission’s criteria for accreditation.
  • An examination of federal compliance data.
  • An on-site visit in April 2015.

For this re-accreditation cycle, the commission selected Northwestern to serve as a “pioneer” in the new Open Pathway process for maintaining accreditation. The commission aims for this new process to be more efficient and valuable for institutions and the commission. Northwestern is one of 57 institutions participating in this pilot program.

The Open Pathway process includes both improvement and assurance components. For the past four years, Northwestern has been engaged in a commission-facilitated improvement project focused on enhancing the assessment of student learning. Northwestern will be submitting a final summary report regarding this piece of the re-accreditation process this summer.

Northwestern will submit a variety of documentation to the commission in advance of the site visit to demonstrate how the University meets the commission’s requirements. A core team within the Office of the Provost will manage the various components of the upcoming evaluation and will engage numerous members of the campus community, including faculty, staff and students, in the assembly and/or development of re-accreditation materials. The Assessment and Accreditation Council, which is comprised of faculty and staff, will serve as an advising body to the core team throughout the re-accreditation process.

The evaluation team will visit Northwestern April 27-28, 2015, to validate the data submitted in the University's materials and to triangulate them with what the team finds during planned activities while on site. The evaluation team will meet with students, faculty and staff during the site visit. Members of the campus community will be able to visit with team members during open sessions. The public also will have the opportunity to submit comments about Northwestern to the commission in advance of the visit.

More information regarding the site visit will be provided in early 2015.

The team will recommend to the commission a continuing accreditation status for the University. Following a review process, the commission will take the final action.

Northwestern has been accredited by the commission since 1913. The Higher Learning Commission is one of six accrediting agencies in the U.S. that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis.

The Office of the Provost will keep the Northwestern community informed throughout the re-accreditation process. Direct all questions to Jake Julia, associate vice president and associate provost for academic initiatives or Jenny Puchtel, manager of the accreditation process.

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