MSU President's Column for Traill County Tribune

July 13, 2019 

Accreditation activities ensure MSU’s commitment to optimal student educational experiences

Accreditation is a process of validation in which colleges, universities, and other institutions of higher learning are evaluated. The standards for accreditation are set by peer review boards whose members include faculty from various accredited colleges and universities. In the accreditation process, institutions must meet the general standards set by the peer review accreditation board. Criteria for assessment may include overall mission, objectives and goals, student admission requirements, student services, quality of education, and reputation of faculty. Accreditation is significant because it is important for students to earn degrees from reputable colleges. Employers are more likely to recognize those institutions that have been through the accreditation process.

Mayville State University as a whole is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). A couple of Mayville State’s programs also have their own accrediting agencies. The teacher education program is accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). The RN-to-BSN nursing program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

To maintain CAEP accreditation, MSU must undergo a review that demonstrates that our teacher education program meets standards set by organizations representing the academic community, professionals, and other stakeholders. Reviews are conducted every seven to ten years.

CCNE is officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency. It is an autonomous agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing. The organization serves the public interest by assessing and identifying programs that engage in effective educational practices.

(The baccalaureate degree program in nursing at Mayville State University is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, 655 K Street NW, Suite 750, Washington, D.C. 20001, 202-887-6791.)

Mayville State is currently in the midst of a number of HLC accreditation activities. We went through a comprehensive evaluation with the Higher Learning Commission in the spring of 2016. This evaluation confirmed that the institution continues to meet the criteria for accreditation. We received full institutional accreditation from HLC following this on-site visit.

In preparation for the next series of accreditation activities, MSU developed an institutional accreditation committee in the fall of 2017. The committee’s charge is to plan and oversee activities leading to reaffirmation of accreditation. Members of the committee include a variety of faculty and staff to ensure all areas of campus are covered 

We are now preparing for the HLC assurance review. This happens four years after the comprehensive on-site review, and helps to determine whether Mayville State continues to meet the criteria for accreditation. We must demonstrate that we continue to meet the criteria for accreditation by preparing an assurance filing, which is comprised of an assurance argument and an evidence file. A team of off-site peer reviewers will evaluate our assurance filing and make a recommendation as to whether we continue to meet the criteria for accreditation. Our assurance filing is due early in the spring of 2020.

As you can see, accreditation activities are ongoing. While we’ve received a ten-year accreditation from HLC, we must do our due diligence during those ten years to assure that we continue to meet the standards. Following the assurance review, our next task is to plan for the quality initiative.

Accreditation is of utmost importance to Mayville State University. We must ensure that our students are receiving optimal educational experiences and will have opportunities for successful careers when they graduate. Whether the accreditation is of Mayville State University in general or specific to programs, it provides an essential stamp of approval on the work that goes on every day at Mayville State.

We recognize the work of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness and the Office of Academic Affairs, led by Allison Johnson and Dr. Keith Stenehjem, and the many faculty and staff who contribute to Mayville State’s HLC accreditation activities; Education Accreditation Coordinator Dr. Sarah Anderson, Kayla Smith, and all of Dr. Andi Dulski-Bucholz’s team who participate in CAEP accreditation activities; and Tami Such and her team who are responsible for CCNE accreditation activities. Their contributions are invaluable.