Work continues toward preparing for University's accreditation visit

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Work continues toward preparing for University's accreditation visit

With a new school year underway at Northwestern Oklahoma State University, the campus community continues to come together to plan for its reaffirmation for accreditation visit in April 2014.

Representatives and peer reviewers associated with the North Central Association (NCA) of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will visit all of Northwestern’s campus locations at this time.

“Accreditation is validation of the fulfillment of Northwestern’s mission, vision and values,” Dr. Janet Cunningham, university president, said. “The accreditation process provides an opportunity for critical examination of every aspect of our operation.”

Over the summer, university employees continued writing information that will become Northwestern’s self-study publication, a document that will provide proof that Northwestern is excelling in all areas related to higher education.

Dr. Jesse Schroeder, chair of the communication department and Northwestern’s Accreditation Liaison Officer to the HLC, said the peer review team will carefully review Northwestern’s self-study to ensure that the university meets all of the criteria enforced by the HLC.

“This is a very positive experience for our institution,” Schroeder said. “It allows us to not only pinpoint areas where we could improve, but it allows us to showcase all of the areas where we go above and beyond the expectations put forth by our accrediting body.”

The theme surrounding Northwestern’s reaffirmation for accreditation is “Credit for Credit: Accreditation Matters to You.”

“We want our students to be confident the college credits they are earning will add to their credibility with future employers and educational institutions,” Schroeder said.

Accreditation at Northwestern is important for a number of reasons.

  1. It allows students to be able to apply for federal financial aid. Institutions that are not accredited do not get to offer this service to their students.
  2. It allows for easy transfer of credit hours among accredited colleges and universities.
  3. It lets students know the education they are receiving is of high quality and that future employers will know the education obtained at Northwestern is top notch.

“An increased presence of accreditation materials will be seen soon at all campus locations and in various local businesses to help explain what accreditation is and why it is happening at Northwestern,” Schroeder said. “Our goal is to help everyone -- on and off campus -- understand the importance of the accreditation process.”

Officials at Northwestern and at the HLC are always open to hearing from anyone with questions, concerns, or accolades regarding the institution. To provide a third-party comment, those interested should send information no later than March 7 to:

Third-Party Comment on Northwestern Oklahoma State University
The Higher Learning Commission
230 South LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500
Chicago, IL 60604-1411

or visit the Higher Learning Commission’s website at and search “Third-Party Comment.” The web address is or visit the Northwestern home page at and look for the third party comment button on the bottom right of the page.