Overview – Higher Learning Commission Reaffirmation
WVU Parkersburg is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), a commission of the North Central Association. WVU Parkersburg was last accredited in 2004 and the next reaffirmation of accreditation visit is April 28 and 29, 2014. WVU Parkersburg was first accredited in 1971.
WVU Parkersburg is accredited to offer certificate, associate and bachelor degrees. WVU Parkersburg’s accreditation at the bachelor’s level is limited to baccalaureate programs in Business Administration, Elementary Education, Multi-Disciplinary Studies, baccalaureate degree-completion programs in Applied Science, Applied Technology, Nursing (RN-to-BSN) and the Regents Bachelor of Arts. Offerings at the Jackson County Center are limited to associate degrees and some courses at the bachelor’s level.
The institution has been approved under Commission policy to offer up to 20 percent of its total degree programs through distance education. The processes for expanding distance education are defined in other Commission documents.
Participation in the Open Pathway Reaffirmation Process
WVU Parkersburg is one of 20 institutions to participate in the Open Pathways accreditation process. The Open Pathway separates the continued accreditation process into two components: the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative.
- Two Assurance Reviews take place in the 10-year cycle; one in Year 4 and one in Year 10. The Year 4 review occurs asynchronously via the Commission’s online Assurance System and without a visit. The Year 10 review also is conducted with the Assurance System but includes a visit to the campus, as noted below. No change requests may be combined with the Year 4 review; all change requests at Year 4 are evaluated separately through the Commission’s change process.
- Between Years 5 and 9 of the 10-year cycle, the institution proposes and completes a Quality Initiative. The Assurance Reviews free the Quality Initiative to focus on institutional innovation and improvement. The institution undertakes a Quality Initiative as something it elects to suit its own purposes. Its timeframe is flexible to accommodate the amount of time necessary to complete or make substantial progress toward completion.
The Quality Initiative
The Open Pathway requires an institution to designate one major improvement effort it has undertaken as its Quality Initiative for reaffirmation of accreditation. The Open Pathway requires the institution to undertake a major Quality Initiative designed to suit its present concerns or aspirations and is geared towards institutional improvement. WVU Parkersburg has selected the following two projects for its Quality Initiative project entitled Pathways to Completion: a) Improving developmental education and b) Creating career pathways.
The Assurances Review
As part of the reaffirmation of accreditation, WVU Parkersburg must provide assurances and evidence of meeting five criteria as follows:
- Criterion 1: The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
- Criterion 2: The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
- Criterion 3: The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
- Criterion 4: 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.
- Criterion 5: 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.