Higher Learning Commission review a success

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | September 08, 2021

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The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has notified UNMC Chancellor Jeffrey P. Gold, MD that UNMC has met all accreditation criteria in its Year 4 Assurance Review, which was completed and submitted to the HLC in June of this year. The midcycle review is part of the Open Pathway 10-year cycle. UNMC will complete a Comprehensive Evaluation in 2026-27.

"The HLC accreditation process is critical to the success of UNMC," Dr. Gold said. "The fact that UNMC met all its accreditation criteria with no qualifications is a tribute to the work we do here at UNMC, as well as the hard work of the accreditation committees and teams who compiled the information for this important effort. In particular, the dedication of Dr. Kendra Schmid, Dr. Dele Davies, and our academic leadership is much appreciated for telling the story of the excellence of our medical center. The campus accreditation process is a recurring opportunity to complete a thoughtful peer reviewed self study as we continue to grow."

A virtual review of UNMC’s accreditation argument was conducted by a team of peer reviewers from around the country who evaluated UNMC based on the HLC’s five Criteria for Accreditation:

  • The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
  • The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
  • The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
  • 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.
  • The institution’s resources, structures, processes and planning are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities.

"A lot of the professional programs have their own accrediting bodies, but this looks at the campus in a much broader sense," said Dr. Schmid, assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs.

In their response, the reviewers noted UNMC’s continued expansion, significant contributions to the response to the COVID-19 response, success in sustaining educational quality, progress in institutional assessment, and major transformative projects, such as the NeXT project, that are planned for the near future.

"The accreditation argument tells the story of the amazing work that UNMC faculty, staff and students do every day. The success of this project also is a tribute to the hard work of the more than 60 faculty, staff, deans and directors who served on our accreditation committees to provide evidence and help draft the argument," Dr. Schmid said.

The review team also met with Dr. Schmid, Dr. Davies, senior vice chancellor of academic affairs, and Chancellor Gold to discuss their response.

"I am very pleased with the success of the Y4 Review," Dr. Davies said. "One reviewer noted that this was the most straightforward review she had ever conducted."

The drafting of the Y4 Accreditation argument was led by UNMC's Luther Mardock, accreditation and assessment coordinator.

"I started working on this project two months after I started at UNMC in 2019," Mardock noted. "It was a great opportunity to work with faculty and staff from across the campus."

The COVID-19 epidemic posed a significant challenge to the project. Many committee-members needed to shift their focus to the pandemic response and the transition to remote learning.

"It was because so much work was done so early that we were able to shift pretty easily to Luther crafting the narrative and looking for pieces of evidence that were missing," Dr. Schmid said. "We were also able to continue to reach out to individual committee-members as needed."

Mardock, who is working on processes to help keep track of the material needed for university-wide accreditation, said he was relieved that the accreditation was complete and had been so successful.

"I’m really happy," he said. "Not that accreditation ever stops, because it doesn’t. It’s a constant process."

Allison M Cushman-Vokoun
September 08, 2021 at 8:37 AM

Fantastic Work!! Congratulations to all! Very proud to work at UNMC!