A seven member team from the Higher Learning Commission will be coming to Emporia State to evaluate the university Oct. 29-30. They will hold seven open meetings to hear from people within the university to see if the university is fulfilling its role as a student centered organization and following the accreditation criteria.
HLC is an independent group that accredits higher education institutions in 19 states, according to the hlccommission.org.
“I do think it’s important (to attend the meetings),” said David Cordle, provost. “If you look at it from the perspective of the evaluation team, when they hold an open meeting and there’s a good turnout, that’s a signal to them that the institution take accreditation seriously. That it’s not something we just think about every five years.”
Three forums will be held at 4 p.m. Oct. 29. The student forum will be held in the Skyline, the Faculty will be held in the Preston Family room and the staff will be held in Webb Hall. There will be an additional three forms to talk about the criteria for accreditation which are open to all community members.
These will be held at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. Oct. 29 in the Preston Family Room. A drop in session for those unavailable on Oct. 29 will be available 10 a.m. Oct. 30 in the Preston Family Room.
There will be an additional 15 closed meetings where the HLC team will meet with specific people such as a meeting with the president and provost and a meeting with Associated Student Government leadership.
“This evaluation team that is coming, they already have most of the information they need, before they even get here,” Cordle said. “Really what they’re coming here to do is just to fill in any gaps... They’re here to validate the claims we’ve already made.”
The HLC team has already looked at the assurance argument, which ESU filed in August, to explain how the university meets criteria needed. This gave them most of their information, according to Cordle.
“I’m reasonably certain they’ll ask us questions about how we do assessment of the general education program,” Cordle said. “I know that because in the last review five years ago that was pointed out as something where there are some weaknesses...On the other hand, I’m thinking about that student forum. What questions they might ask students? I have no idea. I’m not sure how we would even really predict.”
According to Cordle, a university being unaccredited is rare.