Higher Learning Commission Extends Accreditation of Four ASU System Institutions with Stellar Reviews
LITTLE ROCK — The Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission affirmed continued accreditation for Arkansas State University, ASU-Mountain Home, ASU Mid-South and ASU-Newport following recent comprehensive reviews and site visits.
Comprehensive evaluations are conducted by the HLC, the regional accrediting agency, every 10 years. ASU-Beebe’s accreditation was reaffirmed in 2012, and its next 10-year comprehensive evaluation will be in 2021-2022.
ASU System President Charles L. Welch said the HLC reports were “overwhelmingly positive” for the campuses with all criteria fully met, no recommendations for monitoring, and no follow-up reports requested.
“The chancellors and I are ecstatic about these accreditation reviews because it’s extremely rare to have no monitoring requirements,” Welch said. “The feedback from our peers speaks directly to the great work of our faculty and staff. The reports also illustrate the evaluating teams’ belief that our campuses are headed in the right direction. We have much to be proud of and much to be excited about moving forward.”
The accreditation decisions — which apply to the institutions and not specific academic programs – follow a three-year process of internal review, submission of an assurance report to the HLC and a visit by members of the HLC visiting team to each of the campuses. Criteria for review by the HLC include institutional mission; integrity; teaching quality, resources, support, evaluation and improvement; and resources, planning and Institutional effectiveness. An HLC team visited each campus to conduct an extensive evidence review and conduct interviews with faculty, staff, students, Board of Trustees members and community members.
Arkansas State University
"Having regional accreditation is vital to the future of our campus because it affirms to the world our significant efforts to ensure educational excellence, academic rigor, student success, and that our faculty and staff have the resources they need to be successful,” said Dr. Kelly Damphousse, chancellor of Arkansas State.
Dr. Lynita Cooksey, vice chancellor for academic affairs and provost at A-State, emphasized the work accomplished since the last report, saying: "We made great progress toward the concerns HLC had expressed after their last visit. The team was particularly impressed with our progress in the area of assessment.”
HLC most recently reviewed the campus in 2013-2014. The review expressed concerns about A-State’s commitment to student-learning assessment and resulted in A-State being placed into the most rigorous category of accreditation: the "Standard Pathway." The Standard Pathway requires a full site visit and comprehensive report at the mid-point in the traditional 10-year accreditation cycle.
Arkansas State was first accredited in 1928 and has had continuous accreditation since that time.
ASUMH sought and received its initial five-year independent accreditation from the HLC in 2003. The HLC’s comprehensive visit in 2008 resulted in the College’s continued accreditation for a period of 10 years.
In the document accompanying its letter of notification of continued accreditation, the HLC visiting team made note of “the local community’s support and investment in ASUMH, and the level of trust, dedication, and collegiality among all constituents as well as undeniable support and appreciation for an administration that is extremely invested in shared governance and transparency.”
“I am so proud of our leadership team at ASUMH and the College staff and students for their outstanding commitment to this great institution that is evidenced by this report,” said Dr. Robin Myers, chancellor of ASU-Mountain Home.
The HLC finalized the ASU Mid-South’s four-year comprehensive evaluation and reaffirmed Mid-South’s accreditation for another six-year period.
“Having our accreditation reaffirmed in such a positive way, particularly in light of all of the changes Mid-South has experienced over the past three years, is a testament to the ongoing commitment of our faculty, staff, Board of Visitors, Board of Trustees, and the ASU System to providing accessible, quality higher education here in the Delta,” said Dr. Debra West, chancellor of ASU Mid-South. “The criteria for accreditation are the tenets of what constitute a quality educational institution. Fortunately for us, a commitment to quality has always been a huge part of the culture here at Mid-South, so that makes the process of reaffirmation less of a burden that it might otherwise be.”
The HLC Institutional Action Committee recommended ASU-Newport’s continued accreditation in May 2017. Its next comprehensive evaluation is scheduled for 2026-2027.
“We are very pleased with the results of our assurance review and peer team visit,” said Dr. Sandra Massey, chancellor of ASU-Newport. “The recommendation to award continued accreditation confirms ASUN’s high standard of quality throughout our college, especially in the areas of student learning, student development and assessment. This accreditation would not be possible without the commitment of every faculty, staff, and community member throughout our service area. The full reaffirmation process provides an opportunity to deepen understanding of our institutional identity, identify opportunities for improvement, and celebrate student achievements."
ASUN has transitioned to the Open Pathway accreditation cycle, which gives institutions the independence to pursue improvement projects that are geared toward their current needs and aspirations.
The ASU System, based in Little Rock, serves 23,300 students throughout Arkansas and includes Arkansas State University, a four-year research institution in Jonesboro with a campus in Queretaro, Mexico, and an instructional site in Paragould; ASU-Beebe, with additional campuses in Heber Springs and Searcy and an instructional site at the Little Rock Air Force Base; ASU-Mountain Home; ASU-Newport, with additional campuses in Jonesboro and Marked Tree; and ASU Mid-South in West Memphis. For more information about the ASU System, visit ASUSystem.edu or follow on Twitter @ASUSystem.