Butler to be Reaccredited

Butler University is going through a reaccreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission.
A team of six peer reviewers from the commission will be on campus March 25 through March 27 to evaluate the university and decide whether or not it should be reaccredited.
These six individuals are administrators from other colleges around the country who have been trained in accreditation evaluation.
The group will be meeting with President Jim Danko and his cabinet, along with faculty, staff and students. The team will also be stopping people walking around campus at random to ask questions about the university.
Judith Morrel, executive director of the Center for High Achievement and Scholarly Engagement, is the steering committee leader.
Morrel said the accreditation process comes from the Department of Education, which allows regional, non-governmental organizations to ensure the quality of higher education. The university was granted its last 10-year accreditation in 2003.
Butler is a part of the North Central Region, which is the largest out of the accreditation regions.
The Higher Learning Commission has a list of five general criteria universities have to meet to be accredited. Those criteria are admission; ethical and responsible conduct; teaching and learning quality resources and support; teaching and learning evaluation and improvement; and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.
Each aspect has its components and subcomponents, which give more detailed requirements about each subject.
To be reaccredited, Butler must show compliance and a commitment to improving every one of the components, Morrel said.
The commission evaluates many different institutions. Morrel said the same people that accredit Butler also accredit the University of Phoenix, which has a different organizational structure than Butler.
So although each university is evaluated by the same criteria, the main component driving those criteria is each university’s mission. Each university does it in their own way, Morrel said.
Morrel said Butler’s mission has stayed the same since it was written in the original charter in 1850.
“The legislature passed in 1850 prescribed an institution of learning at the highest class for the instruction of the students in every branch of liberal and professional education,” Morrel said, quoting the charter. “That was 1850, and we’re still doing the same thing. The whole idea is if that’s our mission, everything we do should be driven by that.”
In preparation for the reviewers’ visit, Morrel and a team of more than 50 Butler faculty put together a self-study for the peer reviewers to read before coming to campus. The study was completed and submitted on Jan. 28.
The study required Morrel and her team to break into groups and report on the criteria on which Butler will be evaluated. The report is more than 200 pages long and can be found on Butler’s website.
Morrel said she is grateful for her team that helped put the study together.
While on campus, the peer reviewers will be holding three separate, open meetings: one for students, one for faculty and one for staff.
Morrel said the student meeting will be held March 26 at 4 p.m. in JH 141 and will only consist of the reviewers and students who choose to attend. No faculty or staff will be allowed in that meeting.
After meeting with all groups of campus, the peer review team will sit down with Danko before it leaves on March 27 to share with him its observations and recommendations for improvement.
Then the peer reviewers will write a report and send it back to Butler to correct any factual errors. The team will make its recommendations to the commission, which will then decide if the university should be reaccredited.
Morrel said it takes several months before the university will hear back once the report gets to the commission, but she said she thinks it will have to be before the end of 2013, when Butler’s current accreditation runs out.
“It’s a serious matter,” Morrel said. “I don’t think it’s a matter for concern, but I would like people to take it seriously.”
Morrel said she urges students to look at the report online and to attend the open meeting with the peer reviewers.
The meeting times and locations, along with all other information, regarding the accreditation can be found at www.butler.edu/accreditation.

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