The Value of Accreditation
Institutional accreditation is important for various reasons. It provides quality assurance for prospective students, the public, and elected officials. As such, accreditation status is highly valued. For example, admission to graduate programs generally requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited organization, most institutions require accreditation for incoming transfer of credit, and program-specific accreditation requires institutional accreditation. Accreditation is also a necessary prerequisite for institutional participation in the federal student financial assistance program.
Academic Quality Improvement Program
The HLC accreditation process in which UNO participates is entitled the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) Pathway. This pathway emphasizes continuous quality improvement processes and assumes a cycle in which:
- Quality programs, policies, and procedures are in place;
- Assessment systems are operational;
- The data generated by the assessment systems are reviewed regularly; and
- Data-influenced program improvements are instituted when warranted.
Institutional accreditation is reviewed on a regular cycle, usually every eight to ten years. UNO’s most recent application review took place in 2010, and the next application will be reviewed in 2018. However, accreditation is an on-going process.
The quality improvement process is led by the AQIP Steering Committee.
The Higher Learning Commission and the AQIP Pathway includes:
- Submission of an annual institutional report;
- Design and implementation of three action projects each year that support continuous quality improvement;
- Team participation in two HLC-led strategy forums over the span of the eight-year accreditation cycle;
- Preparation of two systems portfolio documents over the eight years that are assessed by external peer reviewers;
- Submission of a Federal Compliance Report; and
- A Comprehensive Quality Review conducted by an external team at the conclusion of the eight-year cycle.
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