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Accreditation plans

Taylor to be re-evaluated in March

By Emily Rachelle Russell | Echo

A Comprehensive Quality Review Team (CQRT) of select Taylor faculty and staff is meeting biweekly in preparation for a reaccreditation visit from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reviewers in March 2018.

This year marks 70 years since Taylor first achieved accreditation. According to Provost Jeff Moshier, this external evaluation and validation tells parents, students and future employers Taylor University meets national standards for excellence and educational quality. Accreditation is also required for the school to offer federal financial aid.

“It’s kind of our chance to shine,” Moshier said. “We’re confident that we’ll do well.”

Director of Assessment and Quality Improvement Kim Case leads the CQRT and campus preparations for HLC’s visit.

“(Accreditation) opens up the door for more students to come to Taylor,” Case said. “It matters to us because we want to be excellent. I think it really matters to God because we’re committed to this mission that we have. And I think it matters to the rest of the world that there is this external validation that what we do is truly helping students to learn and to excel.”

Kim Case is head of preparation for the Comprehensive Quality Review Team’s arrival in March. (Photograph by Halie Owens)

Kim Case is head of preparation for the Comprehensive Quality Review Team’s arrival in March. (Photograph by Halie Owens)

According to Moshier, the accreditation team will be measuring whether Taylor does what its protocols and promises claim; they will be looking primarily at educational standards and quality of student learning. Students play a part in this process.

The HLC visitors will review documents and materials supplied by Taylor and the HLC prior to their visit, then determine who they need to meet with and what student feedback is necessary. This feedback will likely include meetings with student government and other student groups as well as open forums. Surveys will also be sent to all students prior to the team’s visit.

Bergwall Hall Director Kate Austin (’11) is one of the members of the CQRT. She encourages students to participate in providing feedback.

“I would really hope that students would show up to (HLC’s) open forums, that they would come and share honestly and be able to speak to ways Taylor’s done things well or that they would hope Taylor would improve in the future,” Austin said.

The CQRT includes 10 individuals selected by Moshier and Case and has been meeting since the summer of 2016, according to Moshier. These individuals were chosen due to their service of campus needs, strong communication skills, experience with accreditation through their individual departments or organizational skills.

Taylor was formerly accredited through the 10 year standard pathway, according to Case. The school now follows the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) which focuses more on continual improvement and follows an eight-year cycle. The upcoming reaccreditation began a strategic portfolio of information compiled and written by a group of about 90 people, submitted in June 2015 to the HLC. The HLC then returned feedback on this report.

The CQRT used the original report with HLC’s feedback to create a quality highlights report, which will be given to the reviewers before they visit campus. According to Moshier and Case, a team of three to five people with extensive training from the HLC will be chosen by the HLC a few weeks before the scheduled campus visit on March 12–14, 2018.

“(Accreditation says) we’re meeting standards, . . . your major means something (and) the institution means something,” Austin said.

Students will receive a survey sometime during J-term or early spring semester, according to Case. Moshier stresses the desire for genuine, unrehearsed student feedback. These surveys will be anonymous and sent directly to the HLC.

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