Accreditation is a mark of quality. It assures the public and our students that we at Walden University are continually assessing our programs, the quality of our students’ learning, and the integrity of our institution and academic policies and exhibiting a culture of continuous improvement.
Walden is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission (HLC), one of the six regional accrediting organizations recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation. This institutional or regional accreditation applies to the university as a whole; however, programs within the university may also hold specialized or programmatic accreditation.
Walden’s accreditation status was reaffirmed by the HLC in 2012–2013 for 10 more years. However, accreditation is an ongoing process that doesn’t end with the most recent reaffirmation. Maintaining accreditation is a rigorous process we follow continually to assure students, graduates, prospective students, and the broader public that our programs maintain this seal of quality. We are committed to developing and delivering the highest quality degree programs possible.
Partnering With the HLC for the Standard Pathway
As part of the ongoing accreditation process, Walden is currently preparing for its interim site visit in May 2017 as part of the Standard Pathway—one of three pathways to reaffirmation of accreditation (the other two pathways are the Open and AQIP Pathways). The Pathways process was put in place after our last reaffirmation. The Standard Pathway involves a 10-year accreditation cycle that includes site visits and the submission of a detailed assurance argument, which replaces but is very similar to the self-study we did previously, at years 4 and 10.
The HLC has set forth five criteria that institutions must demonstrate they meet:
Criterion 1: Mission
Criterion 2: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
Criterion 4: Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
Criterion 5: Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
To help demonstrate how we meet the new criteria, we formed an HLC steering committee in September 2014 and are currently drafting the assurance arguments for the 4-year interim site visit. The committee is composed of faculty and staff assigned to subcommittees based on their areas of expertise, and each subcommittee is addressing one of the five accreditation criteria. In addition, we have created subcommittees to address federal compliance, special topics such as our social change mission, and a communication and education committee dedicated to sharing information with our community about this process.
Walden had a glowing report resulting from the 2012 visit, and we look forward to the opportunity to demonstrate our institution’s excellence to the HLC during the 2017 visit.
We’ll be sharing more information here in the coming months about the five criteria and how Walden demonstrates each. Please stay tuned.
Want to be part of the process? Follow us along the pathway, ask questions, and share your comments at HLCFeedback@waldenu.edu.