For three years, Washburn has been putting together an Assurance Argument composed of 35,000 words to reaccredit Washburn University.
Students may be asking themselves, “How does that affect me?”
Every ten years, Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting agency, reevaluates an institution to make sure that the school is meeting five major criteria. These criteria includes: mission, integrity: ethical and responsible conduct, teaching and learning: quality, resources and support, teaching and learning: evaluation and improvement and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.
Dr. Nancy Tate, associate vice president for academic affairs, has taken lead on the Assurance Argument.
“[Higher Learning Commission] ensures that [Washburn] is a quality institution. [Students] should want to come to a quality institution. I call it the good housekeeping stamp of approval. Also, people should care because if we would not be accredited, we would not be able to offer federal financial aid. So, government loans, Parent PLUS Loans, Pell Grants—none of that would be available to our students,” said Tate.
Students are asked to participate in a short survey about the institution by Jan. 30. President Jerry Farley sent out an email to all students this past month about the importance of their participation in the reaccreditation of the university.
The survey is only one section of the reaccreditation process. Students will start seeing postcards, posters, social media posts and possibly even class presentations about the reaccreditation process.
HLC will also be sending six site visitors to do a campus visit and evaluate Washburn Monday, March 25 and Tuesday, March 26. There will be open forums for students and faculty to have a conversation with site visitors about their experiences at Washburn. HLC may interview people outside of the forums as well.
“[The site visitors] may stop you and say, ‘Hey, tell me a little bit about Washburn. Do you know the Washburn mission? Do you understand the core values of the institution? Do you feel like Washburn is meeting its mission,” said Tate.
If anyone is unsure of the Washburn mission or core values, Dr. Tate recommends looking them up on the Washburn website. Students can also find the Assurance Agreement if they are interested.
“I really see this as an opportunity for us to brag about the great institution we’re all part of. All the wonderful opportunities that students have, the good faculty in the classrooms and all that. I really hope everybody knows the mission of the university. They don’t have to be able to recite it but know what the pieces of the mission are,” said Tate.