Dr. Jane Smith to Serve as Consultant Evaluator for Higher Learning Commission
Athens, W.Va. – Dr. Jane Smith will train as “consultant evaluator” for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
As consultant evaluator, Smith will visit institutions that are members of the HLC across the nation that are similar in size and mission to Concord. She will review, from a “peer” standpoint, the self-study report that was submitted to the HLC for approval.
Institutions must, on a regular basis, conduct a self-study and submit the report to the HLC. The HLC then sends a team of evaluators to review and critique the report. The team makes recommendations to the institution to bring programs of study or administrative processes into alignment with “best practices” demonstrated by similar institutions.
Concord University just completed their self study, which was successfully coordinated by Dr. Smith. She assigned faculty and staff members to serve on one of five teams that reported on: mission and integrity; preparing for the future; student learning and effective teaching; acquisition, discovery, and application of knowledge; and engagement and service.
Smith will attend a three-day training program in November.
“They want to make sure that the universities are offering quality programs of study,” she said. “We can look at other institutions and learn how they solve problems that we might have faced as well.”
Currently, there are three people associated with Concord who are consultant evaluators: Dr. Stephen Rowe, interim vice president and academic dean; Dr. Jerry Beasley, president emeritus; and, until her retirement, Dr. April Puzzoli, professor of early childhood education emerita. Dr. Rowe is a very active consultant evaluator and team chair for the HLC.
Dr. Rowe encouraged Smith to apply after she successfully coordinated Concord’s two-year-long self-study.
“I think it will be enjoyable and I’m looking forward to this experience,” she said.
In the United States, schools and colleges voluntarily seek accreditation from nongovernmental bodies. There are two types of educational accreditation: institutional and specialized. Institutional accreditation is provided by regional and national associations of schools and colleges. There are six regional associations, each named after the region in which it operates (Middle States, New England, North Central, Northwest, Southern, Western). The regional associations are independent of one another, but they cooperate extensively and acknowledge one another’s accreditation. Several national associations focus on particular kinds of institutions (for example, trade and technical colleges, and religious colleges and universities). An institutional accrediting agency evaluates an entire educational organization in terms of its mission and the agency’s standards or criteria. It accredits the organization as a whole. Besides assessing formal educational activities, it evaluates such things as governance and administration, financial stability, admissions and student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies. A specialized accrediting body evaluates particular units, schools, or programs within an organization. Specialized accreditation, also called program accreditation, is often associated with national professional associations, such as those for engineering, medicine, and law, or with specific disciplines, such as business, teacher education, psychology, or social work. (from www.ncahlc.org)
Concord’s self study is posted on the University’s web site at: http://www.concord.edu/userfiles/files/www/Pages/about/Pages/accreditati....
PHOTO: Dr. Jane Smith
Andrea Meador, a sophomore majoring in public relations wrote this news release. Her hometown is Ghent.