Simpson College’s 2006 accreditation process at a glance

by Andrea McNamara

Within three year’s time, Simpson College must produce a self-study to the North Central Association of the Higher Learning Commission in order to earn another 10 years worth of accreditation.

An accredited college or university clearly states its goals and delivers with integrity the goals they promise, said Bruce Haddox, vice president and dean for academic affairs.

“We’ve never had problems with our accreditation and we don’t intend to,” said Haddox.

According to Haddox, without accreditation a school loses its integrity as an institution as well as many potential, and even current, students.

If an institution loses its accreditation it is usually because of financial problems, or because the school has failed to provide quality within its academic fields, said Haddox.

In order to deliver a quality self-evaluation to the NCA, Simpson’s administration has put together a steering committee. This steering committee will keep the college’s five sub-committees on track to complete this evaluation within three year’s time, said Haddox.

The steering committee consists of various administrators, staff, department heads and faculty.

According to Haddox, roughly 30 people are working on the self-study. Eventually more people will be involved, including students.

Currently the steering committee and sub-committees are gathering data; this data will later be complied into a self-study plan. The plan will be submitted to the HLC in September.

John Bolen, associate academic dean and registrar, referred to this self-study as a “very comprehensive study.”

The committees will begin drafting copies of the final plan in September 2004. Bolen said the final draft is expected to be around 200 pages long and will cover five criteria.

The five criteria cover mission and integrity, preparing for the future, student learning and effective teaching, acquisition discovery and application of knowledge and engagement and service.

“It (the report) involves everybody and everything on this campus,” said Bolen.

“To put it mildly, everything is looked at and scrutinized. From food service to academia, the final report will cover everything.”

“Accreditation is an accurate way to monitor an institution’s programs to make sure colleges define who they are and deliver what they’re promising to students,” said Haddox.