I. Self-Study Process
III. Self-Study Timeline
V. General Institutional Requirements and Criteria
VI. 1992 NCA – Strengths, Concerns, Suggestions and Recommendations
North Central Association (NCA) Guidebook
This guidebook provides an overview of the purpose and process of conducting a North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA) self-study. Included in section XXX are items written specifically for individual self-study committees. The XXXX section of the guidebook displays a calendar with some of the dates and deadlines each committee member will want to know.
Portions of this guidebook come from the Handbook of Accreditation, Second Edition, published by NCA. A copy of this publication is available in the Planning & Analysis office and may be used whenever further explanation is needed. Each sub-committee Chair will also have a copy of the Handbook.
The comprehensive work of preparing a self-study provides valuable insights for the improvement and future development of the University. It will serve to move UCO further in its strategic planning and quality improvement process. We want to thank the Steering Committee and each member of the Self-Study Committee and Sub-Committees for agreeing to participate in this process. Guidebook users should not hesitate to contact either Dr. Ed Cunliff or Dr. Donna Guinn for answers to questions or for comments on the process.
Relationship to strat plan
Thank for participation
Move us forward
II. Goals for the NCA Self-study Process
At The University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) we envision that the self-study process will fulfill the North Central Association’s requirements for continued accreditation and will provide valuable information for growth and improvement of the University. The self-study process assesses the University’s viability thoroughly and objectively and therefore reinforces and strengthens what is done well. It also identifies ways to enhance and improve the institution’s effectiveness. The self-study process provides the opportunity to identify challenges and confront issues that might not otherwise be addressed, and provide a monitoring of the on-going strategic planning process.
The self-study process has these goals:
· To present compelling evidence of UCO’s institutional effectiveness and health to NCA so that continued accreditation for a 10-year term will be granted;
· To provide for and encourage active participation of people throughout all areas of the college: Faculty, Staff, Administration, Board of Regents, Students and other constituents;
· To develop and disseminate regular, clear and thorough communication with all constituencies about self-study activities and findings; and
· To determine UCO’s success in addressing the concerns and suggestions the last NCA team provided and to review and evaluate the changes that have taken place at UCO since the last self-study in 1992.
The self-study process involves the gathering of large amounts of data and the development of numerous committee reports. All of these will be available for review to interested individual(s).
A critical step in the self-study is the analysis and evaluation of the information the committees gather and describe in their reports. In performing the necessary analysis and evaluation the committees should focus first on the goals and purposes of various parts of the University and then on the goals and purposes of the institution as a whole. The combination of description, analysis and evaluation should help the University to determine how well we are meeting the University goals.
The self-study process culminates in November, 2002, with a visit by members of an evaluation team who carry out their work and submit a report and recommendation. Prior to the team’s arrival, the University sends the self-study report to the NCA and to each accreditation team member. It will also be made available campus-wide.
The NCA identifies the purposes of the self-study report, in the Handbook of Accreditation:
· “It constitutes the institution’s formal request for initial or continued accreditation;
· It summarizes the purposes and findings of the self-study process;
· It demonstrates the institution’s ability to analyze its effectiveness and develop plans for its own improvement;
· It provides evidence that the institution fulfills the commission’s General Institutional Requirements and the Criteria for Accreditation; and
· It succinctly summarizes the information necessary for the evaluation visit, the review process and Commission action.”
The committee structure has been developed so as to facilitate communications within the organization as a whole. While the majority of members represent the academic functions of the institution, individuals representing other components are included to serve as resources and to insure that all perspectives are included.
The NCA Self-Study Committee is the main group that will be involved throughout the process. It is anticipated that a Steering Committee may be useful and, if formed, would consist of the Self-Study Committee chairs and the sub-committee chairs. The role of such a Steering Committee would be to monitor the progress of the sub-committees and to coordinate necessary interactions between those sub-components.
Members of the Self-Study Committee are:
Dr. Ed Cunliff
Dr. Donna Guinn
Dr. Paula Smith - CBA
Dr. Chalon Anderson - Educ
Dr. Marco Roman - LA
Dr. Riaz Ahmad - M&S
Dr. Bill Hommel – Fine Arts
Dr. Jere Roberson – Faculty Senate (temporary)
Dr. Kenny Brown - LA
Dr. Lola Davis - Educ
Dr. Pat LaGrow - M&S
Dr. Stacia Wert-Grey - CBA
Dr. Judith Coe – Dean, CoE
Ms. Laura Tyree - Director, Institutional Research
Mr. Mark Jones - Budget Director
Ms. Lisa Craddock - Alumni Director
Ms. Sandra Thomas – Asst. to Chief Technology Officer
Mr. Brian Downs - Student
Mr. Chris Gulley - Student
Steering Committee members’ contributions
are critical to the success of the self-study process. Their contributions, both in the meetings and as part of the
communications process with the University community, are essential. Members will need to encourage input into the
process and to relay information to the various elements within and external to
the University. The members’ roles require that they step beyond their own
position within the University and work for the development of the whole. This particular committee has come together
because they are trusted members of the UCO community and it is anticipated
that they will make the self-study process a useful part of the on-going
development of the
VI. Self-Study Timeline
March 1999 National Meeting
Jan 2000 Identify Self Study Chair and Writer
March 2000 Steering Committee initial meeting
April 2000 National Meeting
May 2000 Identify Sub-Committee Chairs and Steering Committee
Sub-committee membership finalized
September 2000 Sub-committee work begins
March 2001 National Meeting
May 2001 First drafts of sub-committee reports
September 2001 Initial draft of Self-Study available for review
October 2001 Final sub-committee reports completed
November 2001 Identification of Visiting Team Members
January 2002 First complete draft of Self-Study
February 2002 Second draft of Self-Study completed
March 2002 National Meeting
April 2002 Make adjustments to Self-Study
May 2002 Final draft of Self-Study available
June 2002 Print and Bind Self-Study
July 2002 Self-Study sent to Visiting Team
October 2002 Complete pre-visit paper work
November 2002 Visiting Team on campus
March 2003 Receive accreditation at National Meeting
UCO revised its mission statement as part of the strategic planning process initiated in 1998. The mission currently reads as follows:
UCO must also contribute to the intellectual, cultural, economic and social advancement of the communities and individuals it serves.
During the strategic planning process UCO also identified the following beliefs and values that guide the
< UCOs fundamental responsibility is excellent teaching, which involves instilling and fostering in students the joy of learning, the ability to think critically, and a desire to achieve their creative potential.
< Our other major responsibilities include scholarly activities, research, and service to students, to other individuals, and to the larger community.
< A college degree should represent an education that enables its recipients to become good citizens and responsible, independent adults who embrace learning as a lifelong endeavor.
< Great universities must require and encourage a free flow of information, ideas, and opinions in a community that fosters social justice, values diversity and demands the highest standards of ethical conduct, mutual respect, and civility.
< UCO as an institution, and all its constituents, must be committed to continuous processes of self-examination and self-improvement which encourage innovation, receptiveness and adaptation to change.
< UCO must seek and maintain open and mutually beneficial relationships with its surrounding communities, and must also view itself and its graduates as part of an increasingly interdependent global society.
It is also important to identify the planning themes that were identified in the planning process. Nine themes were identified:
1. Students. Students are the reason for the
2. Faculty. A university can only be as good as its faculty.
3. Staff. A qualified, effective staff is the engine that enables an institution to run smoothly.
4. UCO and the Community. A university is an integral part of the communities it serves. Making positive contributions to those communities is an increasingly important part of the university’s mission.
5. Academic Programs. The content and quality of academic programs are critical distinguishing features of all great universities.
6. Facilities. Quality facilities at a university enhance learning, ad to efficiency and enhance aesthetic enjoyment.
7. Technology. Technology is changing everything we do and the way we do everything.
8. Resources. Adequate resources are not substitute for visions, plans and dedicated people, but they are indispensable to achieving excellence in higher education.
9. Administration and Organization. For a university to be effective it must be well organized. For a university to be responsive it must be well managed.
This section contains an overview of The Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the General Institutional Requirements and the five evaluative criteria used in the evaluation process. The information which follows is excerpted from a pamphlet entitled “Accreditation of Higher Education Institutions: An Overview” and from the NCA web site (www.ncacihe.org) It is included here to provide background information.
An institutional accrediting body evaluates an entire institution in terms of its mission and accredits the institution as a whole. Assessing the educational programs, as well as governance and administration, financial condition, admissions and student personnel processes, institutional resources and relationships with outside communities.
Institutional accreditation is provided by regional associations of schools and colleges and by several national associations that limit their scope to particular kinds of institutions. While independent of one another, the regional associations cooperate extensively and recognize one another’s accreditation.
A specialized accrediting body evaluates particular units, schools, or programs within an institution. Specialized accreditation is often associated with national professional associations, such as those for engineering, medicine, and law or with specific disciplines, such as business, teacher education, psychology, or social work.
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education, with its office in
The Commission adopted the following Statement of
Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is part of the North Central
Association of Colleges and Schools. The
Association was founded in 1895 as a membership organization for educational
institutions. It is committed to
developing and maintaining high standards of excellence. The Association is one of six regional
institutional accrediting associations in the
The mission of the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education is (1) to establish requirements and criteria for the accreditation of institutions of higher education and accredit institutions found to meet those requirements and criteria; (2) to strengthen educational and institutional quality through its assistance to its affiliated institutions, its evaluation processes and its programs, publications, and research; (3) to advocate and exercise self-regulation through effective peer review; and (4) to provide to the public accurate information concerning the relationship of affiliated institutions with the Commission.
To fulfill its mission, the Commission:
· Monitors and evaluates institutions affiliated with it, to ensure that they continue to meet the Commission’s requirements and criteria and strive to improve their institutional strength and the quality of the education they provide;
· Prepares and disseminates publications, provides counsel, sponsors research, and conducts meetings directed toward the improvement of higher education;
· Evaluates itself to assure that its policies and practices represent the best theory and practice of institutional accreditation, promote the self-regulation of institutions and respond to the educational needs of society;
· Provides a program of non-membership affiliation open to new or developing institutions of higher education that appear capable of achieving accreditation with a specific period of time;
· Involves educators from member institutions in all of its review and decision-making processes, and trains and evaluates them to ensure that their work is consistent and of high quality;
· Serves the public by providing useful information about the roll and purposes of accreditation, and by providing through its publications and other means timely and accurate information concerning affiliated institutions;
· Honors the historical purposes of the North Central Association through its work with the Commission on Schools to strengthen the linkages between primary and secondary education and higher education; and
· Cooperates with the other agencies that share the objectives of assuring the integrity and enhancing the quality of higher education.
The Personnel of the Commission
A full-time staff in the Commission office is responsible for implementing the Commission’s programs and policies and coordinating all of its activities. More than 900 educators, selected for their experience and expertise from all types of accredited institutions throughout the North Central region, serve on the Commission’s Consultant-Evaluator (C-E) Corps. C-E’s serve as members of the evaluation teams that conduct site visits to institutions.
Accreditation Review Council (ARC) members are currently Consultant-Evaluators who have been selected to participate in the Commission’s review processes. The primary responsibility of ARC members is service was Readers and on Review Committees.
Fifteen Commissioners comprise the decision and policy-making body of the Commission. Twelve are from accredited institutions; three represent the public. Commissioners are responsible for decisions on the accreditation of institutions, the formulation of Commission policies, and the oversight of Commission operations. The Commission elects a Vice-President/President of the North Central Association, who serves as an ex-officio member of the Commission.
COMMISSION PROGRAMS AND SERVICES
The Commission offers an extensive variety of programs and services to all its institutions. Each affiliated institution is assigned to a professional staff liaison. These staff liaisons provide assistance to institutions and to evaluation teams during both the self-study and evaluation processes for initial or continued status; monitor institutions continuously through annual reports and institutional change processes; and offer other types of counsel.
Commission’s publications and its annual meeting are a major part of the effort
to assist institutions. To inform all
its constituencies, the Commission publishes a variety of materials on
self-study, evaluation, and institutional improvement, including the Handbook of Accreditation, describing
the policies and procedures for the accreditation process; the “Briefing”
newsletter; two editions of the NCA
Quarterly journal; and various other documents and articles. The Commission offers an extensive program on
self-study, evaluation, and institutional improvement for institutions,
Consultant-Evaluators and others as a part of the Annual Meeting of the North
Central Association held each spring in
The Evaluation Process
The Commission’s process of evaluation for both initial and continued accreditation is formulated to determine whether an institution meets the General Institutional Requirements (GIRs) and the Criteria for Accreditation. There are four steps in the process:
First, the institution undertakes a self-study aimed at examining how it meets the GIRs and the Criteria. The results of the self-examination are summarized in a Self-Study Report that forms the basis for the Commission’s evaluation. The complete Self-Study Report constitutes the institution’s formal application for initial or continued accreditation.
Second, the institution is visited by a team of Consultant-Evaluators appointed by the Commission. This team gathers comprehensive information about the institution and summarizes its findings in a written Team Report. The Report assesses whether the institution satisfied the GIRs and the Criteria, offers advice and suggestions for improvement and concludes with a formal recommendation for accreditation action. The institution has an opportunity to make a formal written response to the Team Report.
Third, the Self-Study Report and the Team Report are reviewed by a Readers’ Panel and /or by a Review Committee that meets with representatives of the institution and the team. If the review process results in suggested changes in the team recommendation, the institution and the team chair have an opportunity to respond in writing.
Finally, all recommendations are considered by the Commission, which takes official action on the institution’s accreditation.
The General Institutional Requirements
An institution affiliated with the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools must meet the following General Institutional Requirements:
1. It has a mission statement, formally adopted by the governing board and made public, declaring that it is an institution of higher education; and
2. It is a degree-granting institution.
3. It has legal authorization to grant its degrees, and its meets all the legal requirements to operate as an institution of higher education wherever it conducts its activities; and
4. It has legal documents to confirm its status: Not-for-Profit, For-Profit, or Public.
5. It has a governing board that possesses and exercises necessary legal power to establish and review basic policies that govern the institution;
6. Its governing board includes public members and is sufficiently autonomous from the administration and ownership to assure the integrity of the institution;
7. It has an executive officer designated by the governing board to provide administrative leadership for the institution; and
8. Its governing board authorizes the institution’s affiliation with the Commission.
9. It employs a faculty that has earned from accredited institutions the degrees appropriate to the level of instruction offered by the institution;
10. A sufficient number of the faculty are full-time employees of the institution; and
11. Its faculty has a significant role in developing and evaluating all of the institution’s educational programs.
12. It confers degrees;
13. It has degree programs in operation, with students enrolled in them;
14. Its degree programs are compatible with the institution’s mission and are based on recognized fields of study at the higher education level;
15. It degrees are appropriately named, following practices common to institutions of higher education in terms of both length and content of the programs;
16. Its undergraduate degree programs include a coherent general education requirement consistent with the institution’s mission and designed to ensure breadth of knowledge and to promote intellectual inquiry;
17. It has admissions policies and practices that are consistent with the institution’s mission and appropriate to its educational programs; and
18. It provides its students access to learning resources and support services for its degree programs.
19. It has an external financial audit by a certified public accountant or a public audit agency at least every two years;
20. Its financial documents demonstrate the appropriate allocation and use of resources to support its educational programs; and
21. Its financial practices, records, and reports demonstrate fiscal viability.
22. Its catalog or other official documents include its mission statement along with accurate descriptions of its educational programs and degree requirements; its academic calendars; its learning resources; its admissions policies and practices; its academic and non-academic policies and procedures directly affecting students; its charges and refund policies and the academic credentials of its faculty and administrators;
23. It accurately discloses its standing with accrediting bodies with which it is affiliated; and
24. It makes available upon request information that accurately describes its financial condition.
Criteria For Accreditation
In addition to the General Institutional Requirement, an institution accredited by the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education demonstrates that it satisfies five Criteria for Accreditation. All five Criteria are critical to overall institutional effectiveness therefore meeting all five is required for accreditation.
CRITERION 1. The institution has clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to an institution of higher education.
CRITERION 2. The institution has effectively organized the human, financial, and physical resources necessary to accomplish its purposes.
CRITERION 3. The institution is accomplishing its educational and other purposes.
CRITERION 4. The institution can continue to accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational effectiveness.
CRITERION 5. The institution demonstrates integrity in its practices and relationships.
Each member of the Steering Committee has a copy of the Handbook of Accreditation. Additional copies are also available in the Planning & Analysis office. The handbook details the “patterns of evidence” NCA sees as relevant to each of the Five Criteria. These patterns are not, however, lists of specific items or even categories of items but general guidelines regarding the essential kinds of data and analysis. Each self-study committee needs to address several General Institutional Requirements and two or more of Five Evaluative Criteria. Portions of the subcommittees’ reports will thus be used in several different chapters of the final self-study report.
Outline of Self-Study?
following materials are taken directly from the Report of a Visit to
1. There is a strong and dedicated faculty, committed to the mission of the University. Despite heavy teaching loads, which result from continuing growth in enrollment, many are also productive scholars/performers/researchers.
2. Faculty, students, administrators, alumni, and community leaders share a vision of the institution’s capacity to meet the needs of the metropolitan constituencies it serves.
3. There is a widely held belief on campus that the new president is ideally suited to assist the University in securing significant private investment in the institution. Community leaders corroborate this belief.
4. There is a widely shared belief that the new president will succeed in developing broad public support for the University both locally and in state government.
5. That the institution has a strong commitment to full and early compliance with the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act is a definite strength.
6. The institution has developed a comprehensive assessment plan with entry level, mid level, program outcomes and student satisfaction assessment. Several pilot projects are already underway. The plan is well-conceived and well within the institution’s capacity to implement.
7. The University is beginning to implement recommendations of the Enrollment Management Committee that have resulted in improved support services and could result in higher student retention.
8. The University enjoys a technologically current library with holdings and services completely accessible to the handicapped.
9. The University’s commitment to enhance the global awareness of the student body is reflected in a large international student body representing eighty-three countries, an International Studies Program and a required segment with a general education.
1. The team is concerned about the leveling effect of a rewards system, for both salary adjustment and promotion in rank, that values time in grade more heavily than demonstrated meritorious performance.
2. The University suffers from inadequate space for both academic and administrative purposes and the absence of state-of-the-art equipment and instrumentation. The problem is compounded by a continued growth in enrollment and an inadequate capital budget.
3. Resources for support of faculty and professional development needs are marginal.
4. Private investment in the institution has been virtually non-existent as the total value of the endowment of an institution more than 100 years old is only $1.2 million.
5. The extremely high use of adjuncts remains a concern both for its potential impact upon the perceived quality of instruction and advising at UCO and its potential to mask the fact that the University lacks adequate faculty resources to meet the educational needs of a growing student body.
6. Spiraling enrollment in the face of limited human and physical resources calls for a choice between expending resources or capping enrollment.
7. There is widespread student dissatisfaction with registration procedures and the advising of students both in their freshmen years and in their particular majors. This concern first surfaced in the student surveys and was corroborated in conversation with faculty and students during the team visit.
8. The retention and the graduation rates for new entering and transfer students seem low for a metropolitan institution.
9. Comprehensive long-term planning, a concern in the 1985 evaluation report, does not yet integrate physical plant planning, student assessment, program review, academic planning and budgeting, and enrollment management.
10. Graduate programs may be over-extended. The Table of Contents, p. 5, Graduate Catalog, lists 24, not including options.
11. The institution does not fully appreciate implications of the shift of the funding model in the Office of the Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education from one that is essentially enrollment driven to one that is program driven.
12. The team senses a perceived deficiency of communication among administrative levels, especially from above down, which dates from the 1979-1982 reports to the present.
13. There appears to be disproportionate funding between the men and women athletic programs in addition to the fewer opportunities available to the female student population.
team does find, in summary, that the University has clear and publicly stated
purposes, consistent with its missions and appropriate to a post secondary
educational institution; and that it has, in fact, effectively organized
adequate human, financial, and physical resources into educational and other
programs to accomplish its purposes. The team finds, further, that the
University is accomplishing its purposes and believes that it can continue to
do so in the future. The University does
meet Criteria for Accreditation.
Section III: Advice and Suggestions
The University may wish to consider admitting non-degreed students who have completed eight (8) graduate credits with grades of “B” to a degree program on probation.
The University may wish to urge the Regents to settle for oversight by summary reports for program and course approval they now do and attempt to get free from management decisions being handed down by the Regents.
The team suggests that all administrative positions, through department chairs, be described in a position description. Then those descriptions could be widely circulated and understood by all concerned. Both responsibility and authority can be described.
The team encourages appointment of new faculty from
universities outside the
The president needs to define clearly the roles of his administrative team (vice presidents) to guide the institution effectively as he carries out his “outside” vision.
If the institution is serious about tieing the budgeting process to the academic planning process, it may wish to consider the relocation of the Institutional Planning Office, currently housed in the Administration Office, to the Office of Academic Affairs.
The team suggests that assessment of student learner outcomes not remain an independent activity, but become linked with existing practices, such as academic program review, planning and budgeting.
The team suggests that assessment of student satisfaction become a joint venture of Academic Affairs and Student Life, rather than the responsibility of the Assessment Advisory Committee.
The University may wish to develop a short statement of principles guiding the assessment activities for campus distribution to address issues such as the purpose of assessment, who “owns the data” and how the data will/can be used.
Finally, the team suggests that the Assessment Advisory Committee identify and communicate “benchmarks” for assessment.
- a non-competitive salary structure that inhibits recruiting, provides few incentive for high-performing faculty, and creates an inordinate amount of wage compression particularly among senior faculty; and
- the lack of an advisory council that could provide off-campus stakeholders an opportunity to evaluate and shape the programs in the College.
Section IV: The Team’s Recommendation
The team’s recommendations for action,
including its recommendation to continue the accreditation of the
1. The team believes that the institution has a strong and dedicated faculty which is working effectively with a new administration to accomplish its purposes in the face of constrained public resources. The team also believes that the University will continue to achieve its purposes.
and rapid growth in enrollment has produced heavy overcrowding of classroom and
laboratory facilities and has required the institution to place a heavy
reliance on the use of adjunct faculty who, while generally well-qualified, are
not full-time employees of the University and are not in a position to give
students the same attention and support full-time faculty can be expected to
offer. A proposed bond issue scheduled
for vote by the