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Evaluation team to recommend university's reaccreditation for 10 years
An evaluation team for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools intends to recommend that the university be reaccredited for the maximum 10-year period.
An evaluation team for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools intends to recommend in that Minnesota State University, Mankato be reaccredited for the maximum 10-year period.
That was the message in a preliminary report from the 10-member team's chair, Dr. Neil Hattlestad of the University of Central Arkansas, who announced the welcome news to approximately 130 faculty, staff and students on Feb. 8.
During the coming months, the team will prepare a detailed written report about the university for a Higher Learning Commission review committee, which in turn, will make recommendations to a 26-member Institutional Actions Council. The Council will evaluate the recommendations and act on reaccreditation. Then, the Council's decision will go before the Higher Learning Commission Board of Trustees for validation.
"This is outstanding news," said Minnesota State University, Mankato President Richard Davenport after the team's announcement. "The recommendations are preliminary, and nothing is final until the Commission acts on the final report, but the opinion of the visiting evaluation team is a critical part of the accreditation process."
The team has been on campus since Feb. 5, meeting with students, faculty members, administrators and staff from colleges, departments and offices across campus.
Their visit followed more than two years of self-study by university staff and faculty. The university's self-study effort was led by English Professor Donald F. Larsson and Dean of Library Services Joan Roca, and the 276-page self-study report was sent to the evaluation team in December 2005.
In their interviews with faculty, staff and students, visiting evaluation team members focused on five core criteria:
- Mission and integrity - ensuring that the university uses structures and processes that involve the board, administration, faculty, staff and students to fulfill its mission;
- Preparing for the future by carefully allocating resources and planning to improve the quality of education;
- Evidence of effective student learning and teaching that demonstrates the university is fulfilling its educational mission;
- Promoting a life of learning for students, faculty, administration and staff, by fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity, practice and social responsibility;
- Engaging and serving constituencies in ways that both the university and the stakeholders value.
The team commended the university's strategic planning processes, but will recommend that the university submit a report in three years to detail how it is fulfilling those plans through the budgeting and assessment processes.
The final team report also will contain recommendations - which university officials requested - about planning for future doctoral programs, authorized last year by the Minnesota Legislature.
The complete report will be available to the public once it has been written and approved by the Higher Learning Commission.
"The evaluation team's positive report is a credit to the dedicated work of all faculty and staff members and student leaders, and to the high quality of our students," President Davenport said. "Thanks to all of them for working with the team that recommended the full 10-year reaccreditation."