Mar. 21, 2012
Shawnee State University has received reaffirmation of its accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association through participation in its Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP).
"As a university, we have always participated in a regional accreditation process as that is critical to ensuring excellent education for our students and making them eligible for financial aid," Dr. Rita Rice Morris, SSU President, said. "Several years ago, the Higher Learning Commission developed AQIP as an alternative evaluation process for universities already accredited. AQIP is structured around quality improvement principles and involves a set of networking, goal-setting, and accountability activities. Through the program, our accreditation status is reviewed every seven years."
Morris explained that the AQIP process is ongoing, with a focus on continual improvement. In 2008, SSU submitted its first Systems Portfolio, a document that provides an overview of the university, outlines systems in place to ensure quality, and methods used at SSU to continually improve. As part of the process, AQIP peer reviewers visited Shawnee's campus in October 2010, and provided a Feedback Report.
"Faculty and staff have been using this Feedback Report to enhance what we do well and to improve areas with room for improvement," Dr. David Todt, Provost and SSU's accreditation liaison, said. "Accreditation means that we have met specific criteria set by the Higher Learning Commission in the areas of mission and integrity, planning for the future, student learning and effective teaching, life-long learning, and engagement and service. In addition, we have demonstrated a commitment to continually improve our processes as they relate to each of these areas."
Shawnee State's next reaffirmation review will occur in the 2018-2019 academic year, but Morris explained that preparation for AQIP occurs every day.
"That's what we like about AQIP," she said. "This isn't a one-time review that we just think about every seven years. With this reaffirmation, we begin a new cycle that challenges us to integrate continuous improvement practices and metrics into all our university operations and use the information we collect in our decision-making and planning."