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Academy officials host final accreditation town hall meeting

Accreditation

The U.S. Air Force Academy is preparing for the accreditation visit by the Higher Learning Commission in April. School officials have hosted a series of town hall meetings to bring experts from all areas of the Academy together to discuss and work on the report, or "argument," that shows how the school is maintaining compliance with all HLC accreditation criteria. (U.S. Air Force Academy photo)

U.S. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- Air Force Academy officials are close to putting a stamp on the report they’ll show the Higher Learning commission in April.

 

The report or “argument” as the HLC refers to it, is a document that shows how the school stays in line with the commission’s criteria.

 

“Our argument really walks through our institutional structure pretty well,” said Col. Dan Uribe, Academy point man for the academic side of the accreditation and head of the school’s foreign languages department. “The argument shows the quality of our programs and assures the public that we meet the HLCs standards.”

 

Uribe hosted this last of five town hall meetings Feb. 14 in Fairchild Hall. During these get-togethers, senior faculty and staff discussed the progress of the argument and how to best show the HLC team that the Academy is more than compliant with HLC standards.

 

“Accreditation is not just an academic thing,” Uribe told the group. “It’s an ‘everybody’ thing. We’re all in this together.”

 

The HLC will rate the quality of the school’s mission; its ethical and responsible conduct; the quality, resources and support of its teaching and learning; the education and improvement of its teaching and learning; and its resource, planning and institutional effectiveness.

 

Colleges and universities are affiliated with the HLC in two ways: by gaining and maintaining accredited status or by gaining candidate status. Approximately 1,000 U.S. institutions are affiliated with HLC, according to the commission’s website.

 

Steve Sandridge, program analysist for Academy’s Strategic Plans and Programs Office, sat in the last town hall meeting. He and other Academy specialists have been working to complete the argument for about 18 months, he said.

 

“It’s good to get the collective input and expertise from all areas involved,” Sandridge said after the meeting. “The town hall’s really allowed for an institutional look at the accreditation process. A lot of people might think it’s just about [academics] but it’s not.”

 

The Academy’s last accreditation visit by the HLC occurred in 2009. The school has been accredited by HLC since 1959.