Accreditation 101

Loyola is nearing the end of its accreditation process — a university review that takes place every 10 years. In this week’s 101, The PHOENIX  explains the process and effects of the evaluation.


What is the purpose of the accreditation process?

Accreditation is the comprehensive evaluation of a university’ classes, administration, student services and financial resources. It aims to be a form of quality assurance.
Who performs the accredidation process?

The accreditation process is performed by private institutions. The North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is responsible for Loyola’s accreditation in 2015.

It also performed Loyola’s last successful accreditation in 2005. The process includes input from students and other stakeholders through forums and website comments. This input period took place from early December until Feb. 24.

What has it changed in the past?

The feedback from the accreditation process can prompt major institutional changes. After the 2005 accreditation, HLC encouraged Loyola to form the University Senate, according to Flavio Bravo. The University Senate consists of the student government president, students, faculty, staff and administrators, including the president and provost, and serves as a forum for broad issues facing Loyola.

What is the Open Pathways model?

Loyola is participating in a pilot program in the Open Pathways model of accreditation. It involves  a Quality Improvement Project, which oversees three-year review of capstone courses.

The second component is a quality assurance process. This includes a web-based assurance review and a federal compliance review. A team visited the Lake Shore, Water Tower and Health Sciences campuses to corroborate the claims Loyola made in those reviews.

How was the Loyola community involved?

The Office of the Provost asked students, teachers and staff to contribute to the accreditation process by attending meetings held on Feb. 23 and 24. There, attendees could share their thoughts about the university and meet HLC members.

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