The following standards have been extracted for purposes of inquiry into university infrastructures, which often affect campus climates and achievement of diversity-related accreditation criteria. The information extracted was carefully considered in terms of meeting accountability, resource allocation and impact on community behaviors and perceptions of campus success.

Viewfinder™ Campus Climate Surveys capture the essence of these standards through strategic inquiry to students, faculty, staff and administrators. Use of our surveys will help provide a more accurate snapshot of current campus climate conditions, and will illuminate and link infrastructures to policy and practice underpinnings that affect an institution’s ability to warm its climate from its present state.

You are encouraged to browse the information below as well as view our Viewfinder™ survey sample questions to experience how these standards are presented via our survey inquiry.

Criterion One – Mission
The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.

Core Components
B. The mission is articulated publicly.

The mission document or documents are current and explain the extent of the institution’s emphasis on the various aspects of its mission, such as instruction, scholarship, research, application of research, creative works, clinical service, public service, economic development, and religious or cultural purpose.

C. The institution understands the relationship between its mission and the diversity of society.

The institution addresses its role in a multicultural society.The institution’s processes and activities reflect attention to human diversity as appropriate within its mission and for the constituencies it serves.

D. The institution’s mission demonstrates commitment to the public good.

Actions and decisions reflect an understanding that in its educational role the institution serves the public, not solely the institution, and thus entails a public obligation.

The institution’s educational responsibilities take primacy over other purposes, such as generating financial returns for investors, contributing to a related or parent organization, or supporting external interests.

The institution engages with its identified external constituencies and communities of interest and responds to their needs as its mission and capacity allow.

Criterion Two – Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.

Core Components
A. The institution operates with integrity in its financial, academic, personnel, and auxiliary functions; it establishes and follows policies and processes for fair and ethical behavior on the part of its governing board, administration, faculty, and staff.

B. The institution presents itself clearly and completely to its students and to the public with regard to its programs, requirements, faculty and staff, costs to students, control, and accreditation relationships.

C. The governing board of the institution is sufficiently autonomous to make decisions in the best interest of the institution and to assure its integrity.

The governing board reviews and considers the reasonable and relevant interests of the institution’s internal and external constituencies during its decision-making deliberations.

The governing board preserves its independence from undue influence on the part of donors, elected officials, ownership interests, or other external parties when such influence would not be in the best interest of the institution.

D. The institution is committed to freedom of expression and the pursuit of truth in teaching and learning.

E. The institution’s policies and procedures call for responsible acquisition, discovery and application of knowledge by its faculty, students, and staff.

The institution provides effective oversight and support services to ensure the integrity of research and scholarly practice conducted by its faculty, staff, and students.

Criterion Three – Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.

Core Components
B. The institution demonstrates that the exercise of intellectual inquiry and the acquisition, application, and integration of broad learning and skills are integral to its educational programs.

Every degree program offered by the institution engages students in collecting, analyzing, and communicating information; in mastering modes of inquiry or creative work; and in developing skills adaptable to changing environments. The education offered by the institution recognizes the human and cultural diversity of the world in which students live and work.

C. The institution has the faculty and staff needed for effective, high-quality programs and student services.

Instructors are evaluated regularly in accordance with established institutional policies and procedures.

The institution has processes and resources for assuring that instructors are current in their disciplines and adept in their teaching roles; it supports their professional development.

Instructors are accessible for student inquiry.

Staff members providing student support services, such as tutoring, financial aid advising, academic advising, and co-curricular activities, are appropriately qualified, trained, and supported in their professional development.

D. The institution provides support for student learning and effective teaching.

The institution provides student support services suited to the needs of its student populations.

The institution provides for learning support and preparatory instruction to address the academic needs of its students. It has a process for directing entering students to courses and programs for which the students are adequately prepared.

The institution provides academic advising suited to its programs and the needs of its students.

E. The institution fulfills the claims it makes for an enriched educational environment.

Co-curricular programs are suited to the institution’s mission and contribute to the educational experience of its students.

The institution demonstrates any claims it makes about contributions to its students’ educational experience by virtue of aspects of its mission, such as research, community engagement, service learning, religious or spiritual purpose, and economic development.

Criterion Four – Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement (Academic Quality)
The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.

Core Components
A. The institution evaluates the success of its graduates. The institution assures that the degree or certificate programs it represents as preparation for advanced study or employment accomplish these purposes. For all programs, the institution looks to indicators it deems appropriate to its mission, such as employment rates, admission rates to advanced degree programs, and participation rates in fellowships, internships, and special programs (e.g., Peace Corps and Americorps).

B. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational achievement and improvement through ongoing assessment of student learning.

The institution has clearly stated goals for student learning and effective processes for assessment of student learning and achievement of learning goals.

The institution assesses achievement of the learning outcomes that it claims for its curricular and co-curricular programs.

The institution uses the information gained from assessment to improve student learning.

C. The institution demonstrates a commitment to educational improvement through ongoing attention to retention, persistence, and completion rates in its degree and certificate programs.

The institution has defined goals for student retention, persistence, and completion that are ambitious but attainable and appropriate to its mission, student populations, and educational offerings.

The institution collects and analyzes information on student retention, persistence, and completion of its programs.

The institution uses information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs to make improvements as warranted by the data.

The institution’s processes and methodologies for collecting and analyzing information on student retention, persistence, and completion of programs reflect good practice. (Institutions are not required to use IPEDS definitions in their determination of persistence or completion rates. Institutions are encouraged to choose measures that are suitable to their student populations, but institutions are accountable for the validity of their measures.)

Criterion Five – Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.

Core Components
A. The institution’s resource base supports its current educational programs and its plans for maintaining and strengthening their quality in the future.

The institution’s resource allocation process ensures that its educational purposes are not adversely affected by elective resource allocations to other areas or disbursement of revenue to a superordinate entity.

The goals incorporated into mission statements or elaborations of mission statements are realistic in light of the institution’s organization, resources, and opportunities.

The institution has a well-developed process in place for budgeting and for monitoring expense.

C. The institution engages in systematic and integrated planning.

The institution allocates its resources in alignment with its mission and priorities.

The institution links its processes for assessment of student learning, evaluation of operations, planning, and budgeting.

The planning process encompasses the institution as a whole and considers the perspectives of internal and external constituent groups.

Institutional planning anticipates emerging factors, such as technology, demographic shifts, and globalization.

D. The institution works systematically to improve its performance.

The institution develops and documents evidence of performance in its operations.

The institution learns from its operational experience and applies that learning to improve its institutional effectiveness, capabilities, and sustainability, overall and in its component parts.

For more information, visit: http://policy.hlcommission.org/Policies/criteria-for-accreditation.html