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Team anticipates upcoming site visit for reaccreditation

March 25, 2009

The UW–Madison reaccreditation team is looking forward to a site visit by the Higher Learning Commission April 27-29.

Accreditation is necessary for higher-education institutions to ensure accountability and improve quality. It’s required for eligibility for federal and state funding and is the main authority for private-sector financial support.

The Higher Learning Commission in Chicago is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, accrediting more than 900 educational institutions in 20 states in the north-central region of the United States. For the past 100 years, accreditation has been the primary means of assuring accountability and improving the quality of higher education institutions in the United States. It is required for eligibility for federal and state government funding, and is the primary reliable authority for private sector financial support. UW–Madison is evaluated every 10 years and has been accredited since 1913.

During the site visit in late April, 16 consultant evaluators from peer institutions will review the evidence provided in the reaccreditation report and will meet with governance groups, faculty, staff, students and administrators.

The team will evaluate how the university meets the five criteria for accreditation: mission and integrity; preparing for the future; student learning and effective teaching; acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge; and engagement and service. As part of the self study, UW–Madison also gained permission to conduct a Special Emphasis study. The topic for the Special Emphasis study was “What does it mean to be a great public university in a changing world?”

As part of a 20-year tradition, the self-study has successfully laid the ground work for the campus’s strategic plan. Following the visit, the site-visit team will issue a report to the university that will give feedback on how the team believes the university is meeting accreditation criteria.