Criteria for HLC Accreditation

"The responsibility for assuring the quality of an institution rests first with the institution itself. Institutional accreditation assesses the capacity of an institution to assure its own quality and expects it to produce evidence that it does so."

(The Higher Learning Commission)

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) criteria for Accreditation evaluates its member institutions according to five Criteria for Accreditation, which are the standards of quality by which the HLC determines whether an institution merits accreditation or reaffirmation of accreditation.

Each of these criteria include Core Components that further detail the HLC's expectations. Criteria for Accreditation reflect HLC Guiding Values; HLC articulates these guiding values as context for understanding its Criteria for Accreditation and their underlying intentions.

In addition, institutions are required to abide by a set of standard practices shared by institutions of higher education in the United States called Assumed Practices, which are a set of practices shared by institutions of higher education in the United States. Unlike Criteria and Core Components, these Assumed Practices are (1) generally matters to be determined as facts, rather than matters requiring professional judgment; and (2) unlikely to vary by institutional mission or context.

Changes since 2007 HLC comprehensive evaluation

Current Criteria for Accreditation reflect a significantly increased focus on the function of assessment to measure educational outcomes and enable continuous improvement.

Following the September 2006 Report of the [U.S.] Secretary of Education's Commission on the Future of Higher Education (PDF), accreditor emphasis on continuous improvement increased markedly. Central among the report's focus areas was accountability in higher education. The commission's report urged that accreditors take action toward:

  • Providing students and the public with more evidence of student achievement and institutional performance
  • Ensuring that this evidence was easily understandable and readily accessible, and
  • Developing means to help students and the public compare institutions.

The commission also recommended that accreditors and institutions make evidence of student achievement primary in judgments about academic quality.

By 2009, criteria for evaluation of all six regional accrediting bodies had been revised to incorporate the commission's recommendations.

Wayne State University Program Assessment

Wayne State University established an office to oversee Program Assessment to implement consistent measurement of student achievement and academic quality toward continuous improvement. Catherine Barrette, Ph.D. is Director, Program Assessment.

HLC criteria for accreditation

  1. Mission
  2. Integrity: Ethics and responsible conduct
  3. Teaching and learning: Quality, resources, and support
  4. Teaching and learning: Evaluation and improvement
  5. Resources, planning, and institutional effectiveness

Obligations of Affiliation

While holding affiliation with the Higher Learning Commission, WSU must voluntarily and continually meet certain Obligations of Affiliation.