MSU President's Newspaper Column

January 2, 2021 

Important academic accomplishments continue to be made

The coronavirus pandemic has presented many challenges and taken much of our time and energy during most of 2020, and I am extremely happy that we have been able to meet our goal of offering face-to-face on-campus course delivery and services throughout the fall semester. I am equally happy about the fact that we have been able to make some major academic accomplishments during this time as well.

Due to the extreme commitment of our faculty and staff, we have not missed a beat during these difficult times. Some of the milestones achieved over the last several months involve program accreditation. Accreditation could be likened to the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. It helps to determine if an institution meets or exceeds minimum quality standards. It also helps students determine acceptable institutions for enrollment. In addition, it assists institutions in determining acceptability of transfer credits.

Accreditation is an extremely important activity for institutions of higher education, as well as specific programs within the institutions. The process requires a great deal of work and it is something we take very seriously.

We recently received confirmation of CAEP (Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation) reaccreditation for the Mayville State teacher education program. The virtual program evaluation took place in April of 2020.

The baccalaureate degree program (RN-to-BSN) underwent a virtual evaluation by CCNE (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education) in November of 2020. We will not know the final decision regarding the reaccreditation of the RN-to-BSN nursing program until May of 2021.

The master of science in nursing program (MSN) is scheduled for initial program accreditation review February 1-3, 2021. This will be a virtual program evaluation and planning is currently underway for the visit.

We’ve recently secured approval from the North Dakota University System/State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accrediting body to offer the Bachelor of Science in English Education, the Bachelor of Arts in English, and the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration online. The official start of these online programs is the spring of 2021.

Requests for approval to offer Bachelor of Science in Education (B.S.Ed.) degrees in physical education and in biology online have been submitted and will be reviewed by the North Dakota University System Academic Affairs Council on Jan. 6. We anticipate that the SBHE and HLC approval process will follow. Development of the entirely online Bachelor of Science in Biology and B.S.Ed. Physical Education programs are underway and we anticipate initial program offerings will start in the fall semester of 2021, following the necessary approvals.

We will be seeking HLC accreditation for an undergraduate Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) program. An on-site visit will be required for this review. Our plan is to hire a new faculty member who holds ABA certification to oversee the program this spring and follow through with the HLC visit this summer, with the goal of offering the program beginning in the fall of 2021.

We have been offering special education as a second major for those earning the Bachelor of Science in Education for a handful of years now. We are currently looking to offer not only the double major option but also to offer this program as a stand-alone major. North Dakota Education Standards and Practices Board will need to give their approval, which we are currently pursuing. No additional NDUS or HLC approvals will be needed for this program change.

The Division of Business launched two new programs this fall, bachelor’s degrees in agribusiness and accounting. We’re very excited about these new programs that are bringing win-win opportunities for students and the university.

Offering programs that are in-demand and delivered in ways that are flexible to meet the needs of students are extremely important to our future. I am grateful to our faculty, led by Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tami Such, for their forward-thinking outlooks and willingness to do the hard work required to make these new opportunities a reality at Mayville State University. Establishing new programs, combined with the ever-important tasks associated with the processes of approvals and accreditations, keeps our faculty and staff very busy. I commend them for their extraordinary efforts.