MATT HAMPTON | Reporter
Reviewers from the Higher Learning Commission will visit campus Monday and Tuesday to confirm that Lindenwood meets accreditation requirements. University officials urged students, faculty and staff to participate by giving the HLC their opinions and said they’re confident the reviewers will be satisfied.
In addition to three open forums at which reviewers will listen to concerns about Lindenwood, there are also two drop-in sessions to talk to reviewers one-on-one. The drop-in sessions are Monday at 3 to 3:50 p.m. and Tuesday at 10:30 to 11:20 a.m. in the Library and Academic Resources Center theater.
At the open forums, the reviewers will ask the audience about the five criteria they are evaluating. Monday in the LARC theater, the forum for criterion 1, “Mission” and criterion 2, “Integrity: Ethical, and Responsible Conduct,” is at 10 to 10:50 a.m., and the forum on criterion 5, “Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness” and the future, is from 2 to 2:50 p.m. The forum on criterion 3, “Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support” and criterion 4, “Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement” will be held Tuesday at 9:30 to 10:20 a.m. in Spellmann 4080.
“[Criteria] 3 and 4 are probably most aligned with all kinds of student issues,” said Associate Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness David Wilson.
The HLC will judge each of the criteria as “met,” “met with concern,” (which would elicit further investigation), or “not met” (which could lead to the school becoming unaccredited). The visit is taking place because the HLC marked some components “met with concern” in 2013. Among the concerns identified in 2013 were a lack of formal faculty evaluation, too many student workers, and inadequate improvements based on information about student retention. Wilson said he has no fear that this evaluation will find any criteria “not met” because Lindenwood has taken tangible steps to address its problems.
“I don’t think they’ll come in with any big, large, looming concern,” he said, “And if they found issues, I don’t know what they would be.”
“If [students] have comments, suggestions, good or ill, they should feel free to come and speak with the accreditors about that”
Provost Marilyn Abbott said that the review is important to ensure the school continues operating as a reputable institution.
“Students should have an interest insuring that the requirements of the accreditors are met, and if they have comments, suggestions, good or ill, they should feel free to come and speak with the accreditors about that,” said Abbott, who is responsible for ensuring Lindenwood remains accredited.
Before the visit, the HLC conducted a survey of Lindenwood students in September and the administration submitted other reports to the organization. While on campus, the HLC will investigate and verify the information in the survey and paperwork. The university held informational sessions last Monday through Thursday to coach faculty and staff about the evaluation. The visit to the Belleville campus was conducted on Nov. 3. Wilson said it will be several weeks before the final results of the evaluation will be public.