What is HLC?

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes Michigan and 18 other states.

What is accreditation?

Accreditation is formal recognition of the quality of an educational institution. Accreditation is granted by HLC as a result of a systematic evaluation of the institution as a whole. Their evaluation will include a review of educational activities, governance, administration, financial stability, admissions, student services, institutional resources, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies as well as its commitment to continuous improvement.

Why is institutional accreditation important?

Institutional accreditation provides recognition that an institution meets certain quality standards. This recognition informs potential employers of its graduates about the quality of the program itself. It also informs other educational institutions about the potential transferability of coursework, and it allows access to federal financial aid for students.

How do we maintain our accreditation status?

HLC-accredited colleges are required to remain in compliance with the obligations of accreditation at all times. Walsh participates in periodic evaluation through processes such as this reaffirmation review, evaluation of significant changes to its programs or the institution, and other specific reports as requested by the Commission. In addition, Walsh is committed to thorough, candid, and forthcoming communication in its dealings with the Commission and with its pubic.

What are the components of the comprehensive evaluation?

The reaffirmation of accreditation is a comprehensive evaluation. For Walsh, which is on the Commissions “Open Pathway,” this includes a review to assure that all criteria for accreditation are met through the submission of statements and evidence demonstrating compliance. It also confirms that the institution continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, is pursuing institutional improvement and complies with requirements sets by the U.S. Department of Education. Evaluations are conducted by teams of peer reviewers. In addition to the self-study assurance section, it also includes:

  • Federal Compliance Review
  • Student Opinion Survey
  • On-site peer review visit
  • Campus visit

When will Walsh undergo this process?

For Walsh, this comprehensive evaluation will occurs in the final year of the Open Pathway cycle during the academic year 2020-2021.

What are the criteria on which the institution will be judged?

The Criteria for Accreditation are organized under five major headings. Each criterion consists of a Criterion Statement, Core Components, and, in some cases, sub-components. 

Criterion One: Mission: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations. 

Criterion Two: Integrity - Ethical and Responsible Conduct: The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible. 

Criterion Three: Teaching and Learning - Quality, Resources, and Support: The institution provides quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered. 

Criterion Four: Teaching and Learning - Evaluation and Improvement: 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. 

Criterion Five: Institutional Effectiveness, Resources and Planning: 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.