Preparing for Our HLC Visit Forums for Faculty and Staff

What is the HLC?

Webster University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, which conducts extensive review of each college or school in a 10-year cycle for reaffirming accreditation. Webster is in the 10th year of the cycle in 2017-18, where a review team from HLC will visit campus March 19-20 to examine Webster's formal case (the "assurance argument") for Reaffirming its accreditation.
Accreditation Regions

Recent HLC Visits

  • February 27, 2018: Geneva as part of the current Comprehensive Evaluation
  • November 2017: visit to Webster Groves for the Doctorate of Nurse Anesthesia Practice program approval
  • November 2016: visits to Webster Groves, Thailand, and Leiden
  • Fall 2015: Multi-location visit to 12 military and metro locations

Institutions with three or more off-campus additional locations are required to undergo a Multi-Location Visit every five years. The visit is conducted by an HLC peer reviewer and involves a representative sample of the institution’s additional locations.

HLC Terminology

Branch campuses: Geneva, Leiden, Thailand (Cha-Am), Vienna

Additional locations: all other locations, domestic and international

The Five Criteria for Accreditation

1. Mission

The institution's mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution's operations.

2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

The institution's resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Preparation Timeline (2016-18)

  • Core Working Group of faculty and staff convened in January 2016.
  • Group drafted, reviewed, and revised the Assurance Argument and supporting evidence.
  • International campuses contributed examples and evidence.
  • Six focused topic sessions open to community with more than 100 faculty and staff participating.
  • 20+ Reviewers with experience with HLC and other accreditation visits.
  • Review of faculty qualifications policy and departmental guidelines.
  • Evidence submitted by request from every corner of the institution: schools, colleges, departments, and supporting units.
  • Public notices for third party comment, HLC survey administered to students.

Core Working Group: Marissa Cope, Jenny Broeder, Michael Cottam, Thao Dang-Williams, Dominik Jansky, Katie Knetzer, Maggie Laur, Erik Palmore, Rebecca Punselie, Beth Russell, Allison Scheuler, Rita Smith, Bruce Umbaugh, Heidi Vix, Laura Wainz

Peer Review Team Visit March 19-20

Areas that reviewers may address include:

  • Assessment and Continuous Quality Improvement (e.g. of academic programs, Global Citizenship Program, Student Affairs, services across campus network)
  • Faculty Qualifications; staff qualifications
  • Planning (e.g. new program development, existing program review, establishing programs at sites)
  • Working across the Webster network's locations and modalities (e.g. How do we communicate? How do we ensure consistency?)

What Can I Do to Prepare?

Make your space look great.

Be friendly and welcoming to anyone on campus.

Review the mission, vision, values, and strategic plan so you can accurately describe these and how your work fits.

Understand the five criteria for accreditation, and optionally review the Assurance Argument.

Any requests for documents or data should be submitted through Academic Affairs for good record keeping.

Answer questions to the best of your knowledge, but if you don't know the answer, say so.

Talk to your team/colleagues about the visit. Make sure everyone is prepared and scheduled to be here.

Attend an open forum during the visit (or two or three).

Discuss the HLC visit with students.

Relax. Don't Panic. Have fun.



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