As part of the continuing reaccreditation process for the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus, the university will submit its assurance argument to the Higher Learning Commission prior to a peer review team’s site visit March 23-24.

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During a presentation to the Board of Regents on Feb. 20, Rackham Graduate School Dean Michael Solomon shared an overview of the argument, which articulates how the university meets the criteria and core components required by the HLC.

“As an institution, we are committed to continually improving,” said Solomon, who also is vice provost for academic affairs — graduate studies. “We have used this process, in which we have been engaged for over three years, as a moment to consider our strengths and where we can make gains, particularly in understanding and communicating what our students learn.”

The HLC evaluates institutions on criteria that address how they engage with their mission and pursue their work with integrity, how they approach student learning and assessment, and how they evaluate their effectiveness and plan for the future.

A core team from the Office of the Provost and the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching began work on the reaccreditation process in 2016. Since then, members have worked with faculty and staff across the Ann Arbor campus to gather evidence that illustrates the breadth and depth of the campus’ strengths, and to identify areas where it strives to innovate and improve.

Next month, the review team appointed by the HLC will visit the Ann Arbor campus to assure accountability and the quality of the educational environment. There will be three open forums for faculty, staff and students to meet with members of the HLC external review team while they are on campus.

The peer review team will seek input from faculty, staff and students, who are encouraged to attend the forums. The forums provide an opportunity to discuss the ways in which the Ann Arbor campus operates and meets the HLC’s criteria.

“By participating in the open forums hosted by the visiting team, faculty, students and staff will contribute to the reviewers’ understanding of the campus learning environment and the features that support renewal of our accreditation,” Solomon said. 

Dates and times for the forums have not been announced, but details will be shared on the accreditation website in the weeks preceding the visit. In preparation for these forums, members of the U-M community can review the assurance argument on the accreditation website.

U-M’s last reaccreditation took place in 2010 by the HLC, one of six regional institutional accreditors for colleges and universities in the United States. Accreditation by the HLC provides quality assurance for students, parents and the general public by reviewing and verifying compliance with accreditation criteria as well as other relevant federal regulations and requirements.

Additional campus updates will also be available on the accreditation website.

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