Get Educated About Accreditation
What is accreditation?
Accreditation is the process whereby an outside organization certifies a college or university as meeting certain requirements of excellence. Accreditation is an important “stamp of approval.” Accredited colleges and universities have proven to their peers that they are deeply committed to educational quality and improvement.
What is the Higher Learning Commission and North Central Association?
The North Central Association is an organization of colleges and universities from nineteen states, including Ohio. The University of Cincinnati is a member of the North Central Association. The Higher Learning Commission is a main division of the North Central Association, and it is the Higher Learning Commission that accredits the colleges and universities in the North Central Association. We often use the acronyms HLC and NCA.
Has UC undergone accreditation before?
Yes. The University of Cincinnati has a long history of accreditation, dating back to 1913. The first campus visit for accreditation review took place in 1969. Since then, the University of Cincinnati has been re-accredited by HLC/NCA every ten years following a self study and campus visit.
I know that UC is undergoing a self study as part of the accreditation process. What does this self study involve?
The self study is a process during which faculty and administrators take a very close look at the entire university, documenting its strengths and its challenges in a written report. Before the writing begins, self study team members attend campus meetings, interview people, collect research and data, and review important documents. The self-study is a unique opportunity for the university to take stock of itself—celebrating its successes and discovering areas for continued improvement.
Does this self-study affect the entire university?
Yes! All aspects of the university are represented in the self-study. Although different colleges, programs, and departments have their own accreditation cycles, this accreditation process is for the entire University of Cincinnati. In other words, this is the big one.
Why is attending an accredited college or university important?
There are many good reasons to attend an accredited institution. Here are a few of them:
- Quality Education: accredited colleges and universities deliver high quality educational programs.
- Financial Aid: accredited schools receive student financial aid dollars.
- Transfer: most schools will only accept transfer credits from an accredited school.
- Graduate School: most graduate programs will only accept students with degrees from accredited schools.
When does UC submit its official self study report?
The report will be finished, and submitted to HLC/NCA, in March 2009.
An accreditation team will visit UC in April 2009. What happens during that visit?
During this visit, a team of consultant-evaluators representing HLC—all of whom are affiliated with an accredited college or university—will interview students, faculty, and staff; read and review documents and data; and tour the campus. The purpose of the visit is to validate the evidence and examples contained in the written report and to make recommendations to HLC concerning continued accreditation.
When will UC be notified that re-accreditation has been approved by HLC/NCA?
During the fall quarter of 2009.
How can I get more involved?
The self study process is meant to reflect the opinions, values, and experiences of all students. In the fall of 2008, a final draft of the self study report will be available to the entire UC community. We encourage you to read this draft and to provide feedback. In addition, there are two student representatives on the steering committee: Student Body President Ryan Rosensweig and Speaker of the Senate Kyle Snider. Please contact them if you would like to get more involved.