The Higher Learning Commission’s decennial reaccreditation review of the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus culminates this year with a March visit by nine faculty and staff members from peer institutions who are appointed by the commission.

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The Office of the Provost, in partnership with the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, has been preparing for the visit for several years, engaging the campus community to develop a broad set of materials, including an assurance argument with supporting evidence.

The review process includes a survey for enrolled students asking for comments and opinions related to their experiences at U-M.

A link to the voluntary, anonymous survey was sent to students’ umich.edu email addresses on Jan. 13. The survey will remain open until Jan. 22, or until 4 percent of the student population has responded.

Results of the survey will be submitted directly to the commission and the responses will be used to identify potential strengths and challenges of the university and inform the HLC’s overall evaluation.

“The student opinion survey supports HLC’s efforts to make the accreditation process more open and transparent,” said Dilip Das, assistant vice provost and accreditation liaison officer for the university. “It will enable all students, rather than only students who happen to be on campus at the time of a visit, to voice opinions on topics important to them.”

Results from the student survey will inform the campus evaluative visit March 23-24.

During the campus visit, the peer review team will conduct several open forums for U-M students, faculty and staff to share their thoughts on the criteria for accreditation, including mission and integrity, teaching and learning, and institutional planning and effectiveness.

The forums will be publicized once the dates and times are finalized.

The Provost’s Office and CRLT will also hold several informational sessions in the two weeks prior to the visit to help anyone who will be participating prepare to engage members of the peer review team.

As part of this cycle’s comprehensive evaluation, the Provost’s Office has engaged with numerous members of the campus community in collecting materials to prepare an assurance argument describing how U-M meets each of the five accreditation criteria. It also has compiled an evidence file with supporting documents for the assurance argument.

“Faculty and staff from nearly every corner of our campus community have been involved in this accreditation cycle in some way,” said Michael Solomon, dean of the Rackham School of Graduate Studies and vice provost for academic affairs.

“We appreciate everyone who has helped us provide evidence to demonstrate the university’s excellence around the HLC’s criteria for accreditation and look forward to engaging with the peer review team when they visit in March.”

After the assurance argument and evidence file are finalized and submitted to the HLC, the argument will be made available to U-M affiliates in late February.

Another source of information for peer reviewers to take into consideration will be information collected from the public. Public comments must address substantive matters related to the quality of the institution or its academic programs.

The Provost’s Office will keep the U-M community informed throughout the reaccreditation process.

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