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2018-2019 Reaffirmation of Accreditation Information


The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state North Central region of the United States.

Visit Information

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) visited Northwestern on November 12 and 13, 2018 and has completed its ten-year Reaffirmation of Accreditation process. HLC’s Institutional Actions Council concurred with the evaluation findings and voted in a meeting in early March to affirm the institution’s eligibility for reaffirmation of accreditation. The report indicated that Northwestern met all core components and no interim monitoring reports will be required.

Overview of HLC

The Higher Learning Commission is a regional accreditation agency that accredits degree granting institutions of higher education that are based in the 19-state North Central region of the United States. Institutions that HLC accredits are evaluated against HLC's Criteria for Accreditation, a set of standards that institutions must meet to receive and/or maintain accredited status. HLC's Criteria for Accreditation reflect a set of guiding values. The accreditation process is based on a system of peer review. Approximately 1,300 educators from institutions of higher education serve as peer reviewers conducting accreditation evaluations for other institutions. Peer reviewers also serve on committees that make up the decision-making bodies of the accreditation process.

Notice for Third Party Comment regarding reaccreditation.

Evaluation Process

HLC accreditation assures quality by verifying that an institution (1) meets standards and (2) is engaged in continuous improvement. In addition, all institution's are required to complete an annual filing of the Institutional Update, undergo annual monitoring of financial and non-financial indicators, and adhere to HLC policies and practices on institutional change. Northwestern follows the Higher Learning Commission’s Open Pathway option for institutional accreditation which includes a 10-year review cycle. Peer reviewers trained in HLC's standards evaluate institution's demonstration of whether they meet the Criteria for Accreditation and make recommendations to HLC's decision-making bodies.

Preparation for Visit

Northwestern created a Steering Committee in the fall of 2016 to prepare for the visit. In addition, a broad representation of Northwestern staff and faculty were engaged in the process to help prepare the assurance argument for submission to the Higher Learning Commission. Steering Committee members worked with Criterion Team Members to gather evidence to demonstrate that we meet the HLC's criteria and standards.

Accreditation Steering Committee

Amy Carroll, Dean of Student Engagement, Student Life Joel Johnson, Director of Academic Technology and Online Learning Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska, Dean, College of Arts & Humanities Dr. Cheryl Norman, Director of Quality Improvement and Assessment, Academic Affairs Tim Rich, Vice President, Human Resources Dr. Janet Sommers (Chair), Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs

Criterion 1 Team - Mission Dr. Dan Crane, Dean, College of Behavioral & Natural Sciences Dr. Dave Erickson (Team Lead), Professor, School of Business Dr. Dale Gentry, Chair, Department of Biology and Biochemistry Dr. Jackie Glenny, Professor of Communication Kirby Stoll, Assistant Vice President, Gift Planning & Advancement Operations, Vice President, Northwestern Foundation

Criterion 2 Team - Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct Eileen Blatchley, Associate Registrar Jerod Cornelius, Dean of Community Life, Student Life Dr. Ed Glenny, Professor of New Testament Studies and Greek Dr. Don Johnson, Professor and Chair, Psychology Department Ruth Jostad, Administrative Assistant/Project Coordinator, Department of Biblical & Theological Studies Dr. Jeremy Kolwinska, Dean, College of Arts & Humanities Dr. Randy Nelson (Team Lead), Professor and Chair, Department of Biblical & Theological Studies Linda Rust, Electronic Resources Librarian, Berntsen Library Marcus Sarazin, Controller

Criterion 3 Team - Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support Lara Bronson, Assistant Dean, School of Education Annalisa Buerke, Assistant Director of Field Experiences, School of Education, UP Program Manager, Department of English & Literature Jon Carlson, Assistant Data Analyst/Technical Specialist, School of Education Jessica Moore, Research, Instruction Librarian David Golias, Director, Disability Services/CAPSS (Academic Support) Dr. Susan Johnson (Team Lead), Dean, College of Professional Studies Dr. Margaret Johnson, Professor of ESL Education & Linguistics, Senior Dean of Academic Administration Dr. Joanna Klein, Professor of Biology Dr. Nathan Lentfer, Instructional Designer & Technologist Manager, Online Learning Office Deanna Loehlein, Human Resources Generalist Dawnette Scott, Associate Dean of Student Engagement Dr. Pam Solvie, Professor, School of Education, Master of Arts in Education, Program Director

Criterion 4 Team - Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement John Day, Director, Student Services Russ Erickson, Bus Intelligence Analyst II, IT Dana Ginn, Class Schedule & Registration Specialist, Registrar's Office Ron Ginn, Director of Field Experiences & Student Teaching, Asst Professor of Education Dr. Tayna Grosz, Dean, College of Graduate, Online & Adult Learning, Assistant Professor of English Dr. Kent Kaiser, Professor & Chair, Communication Department Ali O'Reilly, Program Manager, Internships/Experiential Education, Career Development Dr. Ying Shen (Team Lead), Professor, School of Education, Coordinator, Educational Programs in China

Criterion 5 Team - Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness Marla Dennison, Senior Director of Business Services Pearl Ferrin, Compensation & Benefits Manager, Human Resources Randy McGrew, Manager, Maintenance, Facilities Twila Jensen, Director of Academic Operations Ruth McGuire (Team Lead), Director of Library Services Chad Miller, Chief Information Of

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