Accreditation reinforces NAU’s academic status

Feedback is being solicited from faculty, staff and students on the university’s draft self-study document that was prepared for the October site visit by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The NCA visit is part of NAU’s accreditation process, which occurs every 10 years as a way of ensuring that the university is meeting the expectations outlined by the accrediting agency.

“Accreditation means we are a legitimate player in the world of higher education,” said Karen Pugliesi, vice provost for Undergraduate Studies. “The self-study process is an opportunity to assess NAU’s strengths and identify opportunities for improvement. Our comprehensive review is a great time for the university community to take stock, evaluate how we are doing and think about the future.”

Two years in the making, the self-study document was crafted with the help of many members of the university community. Last year, the self-study Steering Committee and Task Forces studied evidence of the university’s performance. A small team created the draft report and is now asking the campus for feedback that will strengthen it.

“We want everyone—faculty, staff and students—to think about what they do that enables NAU to meet the criteria that frame our evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission,” Pugliesi said.

She called the report a “snapshot” of where NAU stands as a university and acknowledged the team faced constraints that required them make strategic selections for content. “We realize there is a lot more going on than space allows for,” she said.

The draft self-study report is available online, and feedback can be submitted at the web site by March 1. The final report will be shared with the NCA in the months before their site visit to NAU.