Dick Wilson

From the President's Desk

From the Summer 2012 Illinois Wesleyan University Magazine

A key tenet in higher education is that every institution undergoes periodic outside reviews by accrediting bodies in order to ensure that the curriculum is of high quality and the university is operating in a sound financial manner. Illinois Wesleyan's last 10-year accreditation evaluation occurred in 2003, and our next one takes place this October. At that time, we will host a team of visiting colleagues who will evaluate the University on behalf of our regional accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

This reaccreditation process will consider our progress over the past 10 years in responding to concerns raised during our 2003 reaccreditation and assess our current efforts in relation to five criteria developed by the HLC: (1) mission and integrity; (2) preparing for the future; (3) student learning and effective teaching; (4) acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge; and (5) engagement and service.

In preparation for the upcoming site visit by the evaluation team, we began a University-wide self-study project in 2010, which is a key part of the reaccreditation process. The resulting Self-Study Report was drafted by an 18-member steering committee. The committee has been co-chaired by James Matthews, associate professor of French, and Michael Thompson, assistant vice president for Institutional Research, Planning and Evaluation. Members of the steering committee included students, faculty, administrators and staff as well as Tom McKinney '76, a member of the Board of Trustees.

We are indebted to members of the Self-Study Committee who have worked long and hard over the past three years gathering and interpreting a wide range of data related to the University's strengths and challenges within the context of the accreditation criteria. Drafts of the self-study were made available to the University community over the past year and feedback was solicited through email, online forms, open forums and meetings of faculty, staff and trustees. The result of these efforts is the IWU 2012 Self-Study Report, Transition, Reflection and Renewal, which is available on the Reaccreditation Self-Study website www.iwu.edu/selfstudy/.

As part of this comprehensive review, the HLC has asked that we invite all University constituencies to provide their comments on the quality of the University and its academic programs. As alumni and friends of the University, your perspective and comments are an important part of the process. Comments must be received by the HLC no later than Sept. 1 and may be submitted electronically or in writing:

• Public Comment on Illinois Wesleyan University
  The Higher Learning Commission
  230 S. LaSalle St., Suite 7–500
  Chicago, IL 60604

The site visit team representing HLC will come to campus Oct. 1–3 and at that time meet with members of the administration, campus community and the public to ensure that the self-study was thorough and accurate. Following the visit and review process, the commission will make recommendations and decisions regarding the University's reaccreditation. We are pleased with the report we are providing to the Higher Learning Commission and hope you will read the report and provide your own perspective on the quality of the University.