The purpose of this short piece is to help inform our college community about our upcoming site visit with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The HLC is our regional accrediting body (one of six in the nation), and accredits colleges and universities in 19 states. These visits generally happen just once every ten years, and we are due. Our site visit is scheduled for Monday, September 30 through Tuesday, October 1, 2019.
The HLC uses five criteria for the accreditation process. These criteria serve as standards of quality for higher education institutions. Over the next several issues of the newsletter, a brief overview of each criterion is provided. This issue focuses on the first.
Criterion One states that, “The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.” As most of you will recall, we revisited our mission and vision statements this past academic year. This process included consulting with our community and industry partners as well as students and employees. These statements are in the final step of being formally adopted, which is approval by the Minnesota State Board of Trustees. They vote this week. Each of these new statements is provided below.
The first criterion is further broken down into four Core Components. Rather than get into each in detail, I provide a summary of what the HLC looks for through these core components. Not only will the HLC consider whether our mission is publicly stated, they will also want to assure that our work and actions align with it. For example, do our academic programs and graduates contribute to regional prosperity? Are our students better equipped with the skills needed to be successful? The HLC also considers whether, within our mission, we recognize the wide range of students that we at Northland serve and that we prepare these students for success in a multicultural society. Moreover, the HLC will want to see that our planning and budgeting processes support our mission. Finally, they will assure that we recognize and serve our community as a public institution of higher learning.
This is just a quick overview. To see the details of Criterion One, visit: https://www.hlcommission.org/Policies/criteria-and-core-components.html. To learn more about the HLC, visit: https://www.hlcommission.org/.
Our New Mission Statement is:
Northland is an innovative leader in higher education, preparing all learners with work and life skills that advance personal well–being and regional prosperity.
Our New Vision Statement is:
Northland will be highly valued for providing exceptional education that transforms lives and strengthens the communities we serve.