Dr. Wendy Wyatt

In fall 2013, a group of peer reviewers will visit St. Thomas as the final step of our Higher Learning Commission (HLC) universitywide reaccreditation. Before reviewers arrive, however, we will conduct and write a self-study of our university. This self-study is our opportunity to examine all areas of the institution and, using a continuous improvement model, look to the future.

The HLC Criteria for the Self-Study Report

Dr. Marty Johnston

HLC provides a set of five criteria for its member institutions to use as part of the self-study process. We’ll also be looking beyond what the HLC requires, but these criteria serve as a starting point. The HLC criteria are currently undergoing revision and will be finalized in February 2012. Until then, we’ll be using the draft version to guide our work. This version is available on the HLC Blackboard site.

The HLC Subcommittees

We have now formed subcommittees comprised of faculty and staff. Each subcommittee will examine St. Thomas in light of one or more of the HLC criteria.

Dr. Lucy Payne

In forming subcommittees we felt it necessary to keep groups small for more efficient work. However, as subcommittees gather data and information for the self-study, they will be reaching out to the entire St. Thomas community. Faculty, staff and students also should feel free to contact the subcommittee chairs, faculty co-chairs or the accreditation liaison officer (Lucy Payne) to share and discuss information and data for the self-study.

Having smaller subcommittees meant the selection process for members was difficult. Each committee needed members with specific areas of expertise or experience. In addition, appointing members with a range of experiences and finding balance across academic and nonacademic units were important.

Below are the committees that will work on various aspects of the Self-Study Report:

Criterion One: Mission: Mark Neuzil (College of Arts & Sciences and Office of Mission), chair; Elise Amel (College of Arts & Sciences); Bernard Brady (College of Arts & Sciences); Dan Gjelten (Libraries); Ray MacKenzie (College of Arts & Sciences); Father Erich Rutten (Campus Ministry); Ken Snyder (School of Divinity);  Jan Viktora (Selim Center for Learning in Later Years); and Virgil Wiebe (Law).

Criterion Two: Integrity: Agapitos Papagapitos (College of Arts & Sciences), chair; Bernard Armada (College of Arts & Sciences); Jeanne Buckeye (Opus College of Business); Jane Canney (Student Affairs); Linda Dorn (Institutional Effectiveness); Mari Ann Graham (Social Work); Allicia Firkus (Human Resources); and Paul Lorah (College of Arts & Sciences).

Criteria Three and Four: Academic Programs – Quality, Resources and Support; and Evaluation and Improvement: John Abraham (Engineering), co-chair; Britain Scott (College of Arts & Sciences), co-chair; Susan Anderson (Academic Counseling); Todd Busch (College of Applied Professional Studies); Bridget Duoos (College of Arts & Sciences); Xiaowen Guan (College of Arts & Sciences); Jeff Jalkio (College of Arts & Sciences); Michael Jordan (Academic Affairs); Lisa Rezac (College of Arts & Sciences); Richard Sathe (Opus College of Business); Elizabeth Smith (Faculty Development); Greg Vandegrift (College of Arts & Sciences); and Uta Wolfe (College of Arts & Sciences).

Criterion Five: Resources and Planning: Joe Kreitzer (Academic Affairs), chair; Larry Davis (Opus College of Business); Linda Halverson (Administration); Monica Hartmann (College of Arts & Sciences); John Purdy (College of Arts & Sciences); Rich Rexeisen (Opus College of Business); and Mark Vangsgard (Administration).

Susan Alexander, executive adviser to the president, will write the report’s prologue.

Timeline and Next Steps

Throughout this academic year, subcommittees will work to gather data and information from the wider community with the goal of completing their initial data gathering in spring 2012. During the 2012-2013 school year, the first draft of the report will be shared and input will be solicited. Concurrently, subcommittees will begin drafting recommendations based on findings from the data-gathering stage. These recommendations will be shared in late spring 2013 for community input. The comprehensive report will then take shape with final editing occurring during summer 2013. In fall 2013, the self-study report and an executive summary will be made available, and the on-campus accreditation visit will take place.

For More Information

The HLC Blackboard site is the official location for documents and information related to the self-study and reaccreditation process.

To self-enroll in the site:

  1. Log into Blackboard
  2. Click the Community tab
  3. Type “HLC” in the Organization Search box in the upper-left side of the page
  4. When the HLC2013 group comes up, click the down arrow next to the title
  5. Click enroll
  6. Click submit

You now have access and can view documents, data and information.

In addition please feel free to contact any one of us at any time:

Lucy Payne (651) 962-6724
Marty Johnston (651) 962-5214
Wendy Wyatt (651) 962-5253
HLC accreditation Outlook mailbox

Watch the Bulletin Today for more information on the self-study process as it progresses.