THE NORTH CENTRAL
ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES
The Higher Learning Commission
A Regional Accrediting Association
There are regional associations in other sections of the
country but NCA is the largest. The other ones are Middle
States, New England, Northwest, Southern and Western.
NCA encompasses 19 states in the Midwest:
Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa,
Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, New
Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota,
West Virginia, Wyoming and Wisconsin.
History of NCA
NCA started in 1895
Witha meeting at Northwestern University in
Of36 school, college and university administrators
from seven midwestern states
National Accrediting Associations
There are seven national accrediting associations
which offer accreditation for particular types of
Religious colleges and universities
Trade and technical colleges
Colleges focusing on health-related issues
Organizations offering programs primarily
through distance delivery
The Two Fundamental Purposes of
Institutional and Program Improvement
Is voluntary Has two independent
Utilizes peer review corporations:
Is institutional rather than The Commission on
specialized (or program) Accreditation and School
accreditation Improvement (CASI) in
Instead of focusing on
standards, it looks at The Higher Learning
criteria. Commission in Chicago,
The Mission Statement of NCA:
“Serving the common good by assuring and
advancing the quality of higher learning.”
Itscore values include the following:
Quality, integrity, innovations, diversity,
inclusiveness, service, collaboration, and learning.
NCU’s History of Accreditation
Started in 1982 with candidacy status and several visits by
teams then and in subsequent years.
Received accreditation in 1986 and a team came back in
The last team came in the 1997-8 school year, and NCA
then gave us the maximum of 10 years accreditation.
Therefore we are due for another visit by a team in
2007-8. We are aiming for the fall (November) of 2007.
Next fall we will begin the two-year cycle which
is traditional for any institution in preparing for its
comprehensive visit by a team.
We will be compiling a large informative report
which is a self-study of our university.
The self-study will look at every area of the
university, providing institutional evaluation.
Characteristics of a Good Self-study
Promises to have an impact on the organization beyond
the Commission visit
Engages multiple constituencies of the organization
Ensures effective evaluation of the whole organization
Builds naturally on existing and ongoing self-evaluation
Produces evidence to show that the Commission’s Criteria
for Accreditation are met.
Provides for good communication and support across the
Other Important Issues
The self-study should be descriptive. It needs to
show evidence that we meet the criteria for
It should also be evaluative. We should show that
we understand ourselves by being able to identify
both our strengths and our weaknesses.
The self-study needs to provide evidence…not
How Do We Show Evidence?
Through data from institutional evaluation (students
surveys, alumni surveys, etc.)
Through data from assessment of student learning
Through facts and figures, charts and graphs, comparison
data, and so forth
Through supporting documents. The team will be asking
for these documents, and we will have a resource room
with minutes of meetings, budgets, audited reports, even
The team that visits will make a recommendation to the
NCU may either accept that recommendation and ask for a
Readers Panel or if it takes issue, it will ask for a Review
Both the Readers and Review Panels are composed of
members of ARC (the Accreditation Review Council).
The IAC (Institutional Actions Council) will make a
decision on all cases and the Board of Trustees validates
NCA has gone through a complete revisioning in the last
It developed a new mission statement.
It formulated a new report format for the Visitation Team
NCA considered its values and then developed a new set
of criteria. These criteria have been phased in and are
now in effect beginning in January, 2005.
All of this was accomplished with a massive amount of
input from NCA constituencies.
How This Affects US
Next fall we will be assigning committees that are
composed of faculty with some staff, students, etc.
The committees will be based upon the criteria.
Each committee will be responsible for describing
and evaluating their assigned criterion.
They will assist in collecting the evidence to
support our findings.
WHICH CRITERION ARE
YOU INTERESTED IN
The Criteria for Accreditation
Criterion #1: Mission and Integrity
“The organization operates with integrity to ensure the
fulfillment of its mission through structures and
processes that involve the board, administration, faculty,
staff and students.”
1A The organization’s mission documents are clear
and articulate publicly the organization’s commitments.
1B In its mission documents, the organization
recognizes the diversity of its learners, other
constituencies, and the greater society it serves.
Criterion #1 Core Components
1C Understanding of and support for the mission
pervade the organization.
1D The organization’s governance and administrative
structures promote effective leadership and support
collaborative processes that enable the organization to
fulfill its mission.
1E The organization upholds and protects its integrity.
Criterion #2: Preparing for the Future
“The organization’s allocation of resources and its
processes for evaluation and planning
demonstrate its capacity to fulfill its mission,
improve the quality of its education, and respond
to future challenges and opportunities.”
Criterion #2 Core Components
2A The organization realistically prepares for a future
shaped by multiple societal and economic trends.
2B The organization’s resource base supports its
educational programs and its plans for maintaining and
strengthening their quality in the future.
2C The organization’s ongoing evaluation and
assessment processes provide reliable evidence of
institutional effectiveness that clearly informs strategies
for continuous improvement.
2D All levels of planning align with the organization’s
mission, thereby enhancing its capacity to fulfill that
Criterion #3: Student Learning and
“The organization provides evidence of student
learning and teaching effectiveness that
demonstrates it is fulfilling its educational
Criterion #3 Core Components
3A The organization’s goals for student learning
outcomes are clearly stated for each educational program
and make effective assessment possible.
3B The organization values and supports effective
3C The organization creates effective learning
3D The organization’s learning resources support
students learning and effective teaching.
Criterion #4: Acquisition, Discovery,
and Application of Knowledge
“The organization promotes a life of learning for
its faculty, administration, staff, and students by
fostering and supporting inquiry, creativity,
practice, and social responsibility in ways
consistent with its mission.”
Criterion #4 Core Components
4A The organization demonstrates, through the actions of
its board, administrators, students, faculty, and staff, that it
values a life of learning.
4B The organization demonstrates that acquisition of a
breadth of knowledge and skills and the exercise of
intellectual inquiry are integral to its educational
4C The organization assesses the usefulness of its
curricula to students who will live and work in a global,
diverse, and technological society.
4D The organization provides support to ensure that
faculty, students, and staff acquire, discover, and apply
Criterion #5:Engagement and Service
“As called for by its mission, the organization
identifies its constituencies and serves them in
ways both value.”
Criterion #5 Core Components
5A The organization learns from the constituencies it
serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and
5B The organization has the capacity and the commitment
to engage with its identified constituencies and
5C The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to
those constituencies that depend on it for service.
5D Internal and external constituencies value the services
the organization provides.
The Steering Committee
We will also need to have a Steering Committee that will
help to steer (duh) the whole self study process.
This committee will oversee everything to be sure that it is
all covered well.
The committee will make over-arching evaluations and