MAY 12, 2004

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Northwestern recommended for 10 years of continued accreditation by HLC-NCA evaluation team

Northwestern Oklahoma State University has been recommended for 10 years of continued accreditation by an evaluation team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

The four-person evaluation team, comprised of administrators and faculty from other member institutions of the HLC, conducted a comprehensive review of the university in April, meeting with various constituency groups of the university and reviewing the contents of Northwestern’s self-study document.

The team report and recommendation is the first step in the evaluation process. The report will now be forwarded to the HLC’s Accreditation Review Council for review. Final approval will be in the hands of the Commission’s Institutional Actions Council, which is expected to issue its final report in late summer or early fall.

“I believe the report clearly shows the university is excelling in numerous areas and is continuing to move forward in its role as the education and economic development center of this region,” said Dr. Paul Beran, president of Northwestern. “The evaluation team was impressed with the quality of our students, faculty and staff, and particularly noted the way the entire campus community came together during the self-study process resulting in the University’s report and preparations for the team’s site visit.”

In an exit interview with the university community, the team said their report would include the following themes:

• The relationships between students, faculty and staff are strong and that an environment of dedication and of caring for students exists.

• A reorganization of the university in 2002 has led to a more participatory model of leadership and has promoted a sense of responsibility in employees

• Northwestern has made significant improvements in collecting and utilizing data to assess teaching and learning.

• The fiscal management of Northwestern is commendable.

• Northwestern enjoys strong community support, particularly noting the Alva Incentive Program, the endowed chair program and the involvement of stakeholders.

• There is an effective use of technology.

• Northwestern has effectively established partnerships that make it a key player in economic development.

• The appearance of the campus is attractive considering the age of the physical plant.

The evaluators also encouraged Northwestern to upgrade all of the institution’s aging facilities and evaluate future capital needs.

Team chair Dr. Kathie Gilbert of Western New Mexico University described the team’s visit as “enriching” and said “Northwestern holds much promise for the future.”

Contact: Steven Valencia, 1-580-327-8478