The Higher Learning Commission visits UCCS for accreditation review

November 28, 2016

Anne Stewart

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     A review team from the Higher Learning Commission visited the campus to create an opportunity for faculty, staff and students to give their feedback on their experience at UCCS.

     The HLC performs an accreditation audit of the university every 10 years; the last visit resulted in the need to address budget concerns, according to Chancellor Pam Shockley-Zalabak.

     Shockley-Zalabak said the university will wait to receive a report from the HLC in eight weeks. The school will then have two weeks to respond with any additional information and a final report from the HLC will be available to the public.

     The HLC offered open forums for the public and closed sessions for specific groups to answer questions from the review team and to discuss the university on Nov. 14-15.

     One of the open forums was held in the University Center room 302, and was run by HLC review team members William Roweton of Chadron State College, Colleen Greer of Bemidji State University and Barbara Wharton of Ohio University.

     According to Brenda Bonn, executive assistant to the chancellor, one of the open feedback sessions was filled with around 40 students.

     During another open forum, faculty and staff gave input on the teaching and learning criteria of accreditation.

     “I (was) excited to speak because we believe that students and their success is what matters,” said Megann Murphy, assistant director of Events Scheduling.

     The criteria pertaining to teaching and learning consisted of quality, resources and support and evaluation and improvement.

     The conversation started with academic planning and how the faculty and staff are involved.

     “I came to UCCS because I realized how committed this campus is to teaching its students,” said communications professor Sherry Morreale.

     Terrance Boult, chair of Innovation and Security and computer science professor, said that the campus has continually sought new ways of educating students and spoke of the university’s adaptability.

     Throughout the session faculty and staff spoke of their job experiences and ways departments have continued to progress and adapt to the growing university and changing demands on campus.

     “Part of the teaching and learning culture is bringing student services that align with the mission. We have a mission to help (students) put into practice what they learn in the classroom,” said Sentwali Bakari, vice chancellor for Student Success.