Pathways HLC Reaccreditation Project
This site is designed as a resource for the BGSU Pathways Project. Pathways is a national demonstration reaccreditation project on the part of the North Central Association High Learning Commission in which BGSU is participating 2010-2013.
This site will continue to be updated as the project progresses.
- Why a new accreditation process?
- What is Pathways?
- How is BGSU involved?
- The Assurance Process
- The Advancement Process
- Pathways Timeline
- HLC Pathways Site
- BGSU Pathways Advancement Process Proposal
- HLC Pathways Chart (October 2009)
- HLC Pathways Draft Timeline (February 2010)
- HLC Pathways Overview document (January 2010)
- Draft New Accreditation Criteria
- Pathways Progress Newsletter (Fall 2010)
- Pathways Progress Newsletter (Spring 2011)
Why a New Accreditation Process?
For many years criticisms have been leveled at the regional accreditation process. It has been characterized as time and labor intensive, while not adding appreciable value to institutions. Tension between the twin accreditation goals of quality assurance and continuous improvement has led to neither goal being realized to its greatest potential. The federal Commission on the Future of Higher Education (aka the Spellings Commission) has seriously criticized the effectiveness of regional accreditation.
What is Pathways?
The North Central Association Higher Learning Commission (HLC), BGSU’s regional accreditation agency, has created a national demonstration project known as Pathways. Pathways separates traditional accreditation activities into two components: the Assurance Process and the Improvement Process. For mature institutions, the Assurance Process involves only the accumulation over time of electronically stored information that the institution already collects or prepares, together with an Assurance Narrative that makes the case that the institution continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation and the federal requirements. With few exceptions, the peer review of the Assurance Process is carried out electronically, at distance. The Improvement Process allows institutions to select one or more high-priority projects of their choosing and report upon the results. The Improvement Process includes a visit by a small number of specially-trained HLC consultant-evaluators; the visit may take place before, during, and/or at the conclusion of the project. Undergirding the entire Pathways Project is an enhanced annual HLC reporting process.
How is BGSU Involved?
Given BGSU’s accreditation schedule that calls for its next reaffirmation of accreditation in 2013 and its status, according to HLC, as “a mature, well-functioning institution with a strong history of success in prior accreditations,” we were selected by HLC as a candidate to participate in the Pathways national demonstration project along with 13 other institutions, known as Pathways Pioneers. Following two national meetings sponsored by HLC in 2009-2010, BGSU agreed to serve as a Pathways Pioneer. It was decided that our Pathways Improvement Process would focus upon the first two strategies of the Charting the Future strategic plan: Create distinctive coherent undergraduate learning experiences that integrate curricular and co-curricular programs, and Expand the student populations for BGSU enrollment and implement programs to recruit them and retain them to successful program completion. This new approach will allow us to demonstrate accountability to our publics, while decreasing a large administrative burden and focusing upon what really matters in this process: solid advice about how we can move forward on important institutional priorities. Provost Borland is the institutional sponsor for the Pathways Project and Bill Knight, Associate Vice Provost for Planning and Accountability, serves as the project coordinator.
The Assurance Process
Along with institutional representatives, HLC is currently planning the content and logistics of the Evidence File and the Assurance Narrative. HLC staff members interviewed institutional representatives in September and October concerning their expectations, approaches, and planned use of technology related to the Assurance Process. These results informed an October 25 teleconference in which additional details were discussed. Examples of materials that will be included in the Evidence File will likely include planning and governance materials; documents concerning constituent group rights and responsibilities; budget information; materials concerning human resources, enrollment, facilities, and technology planning; evidence of the conduct and results of assessment of student learning; information about learning resources and support for student success; materials concerning research and creative activities, service and engagement; information about the performance and utilization of decision support activities such as program review and institutional research; evidence of constituent group satisfaction; and documentation of effectiveness and integrity in institutional operations. An Assurance Process Steering Committee is currently being assembled; it will be charged with advising the project coordinator in the assembly of Evidence File materials and writing of the Assurance Narrative.
The Advancement Process
BGSU sent an Advancement Process proposal to HLC in May and received approval in June. The proposal called upon the University to demonstrate tangible progress towards the first two strategic of the Charting the Future Strategic Plan through the CUE/BG Experience Project and efforts within the Division of Enrollment Management. The proposal demonstrated our commitment and capacity to achieve these goals, their scope, significance, anticipated outcomes, and timeline. Project feedback visits by HLC consultant-evaluators are being planned for Spring 2011 and Spring 2012. Updates to the University community concerning CUE/the BG Experience and enrollment management efforts also represent progress for our Pathways Advancement Process.
Pathways Meeting in Chicago
Pathways Meeting in Chicago
Advancement Process proposal sent to HLC
Pathways Meeting in Chicago
April 26-27, 2011:
First visit of Advancement processor consultants.
Begin assembling Evidence File
Continue assembling Evidence File and begin writing Assurance Narrative
Write Advancement Process Report
Continue assembling Evidence File and writing Assurance Narrative
Finish assembling Evidence File and continue writing Assurance Narrative
Upload Evidence File materials and submit Assurance Narrative
Second visit of Advancement Process consultants
Assurance Process consultant-evaluator visit
Reaffirmation of accreditation