Reaffirmation of Accreditation 2016-17

UNL's Reaffirmation News

  • UNL will host three HLC Site Visit Prep Sessions to help prepare faculty, staff and students for the open sessions with peer reviewers:
    • Faculty and Staff HLC Prep Session Tuesday, October 11, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., Regency B, City Campus Union
    • Student HLC Prep Session, Wednesday, October 12, 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., Colonial A, City Campus Union
    • Faculty and Staff HLC Prep Session, Thursday, October 13, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., Goldenrod/Sunflower, East Campus Union
  • The Executive Summary of UNL’s 2016 Assurance Argument is available online. The full Assurance Argument is also available for download.
  • HLC site visit schedule and peer reviewers have been confirmed. The peer review team will visit UNL on October 24 & 25, 2016. Plan to attend an open session or criterion session to help UNL achieve reaffirmation.
Quality Initiative celebration

What is Accreditation?

Accreditation is a process of external quality review created and used by higher education to scrutinize colleges, universities, and education programs for quality assurance and quality improvement*. Through institutional self-evaluation, peer review, and institutional response, formal educational activities as well as other activities essential to the effectiveness of an institution, such as governance and financial stability are evaluated.

The University of Nebraska is a member of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). The Higher Learning Commission accredits degree-granting post-secondary education institutions in the North Central region. UNL's most recent accreditation was in 2006. In 2016-2017, a peer review team from the HLC will conduct an onsite visit as part of UNL’s reaffirmation of accreditation.

* J. Eaton, 2011, “An Overview of U.S. Accreditation, Council for Higher Education Accreditation", p.1

Why is it Important?

Accreditation provides assurances that the institution meets nationally endorsed standards, that it is engaged in continuous improvement, and that it is accountable for achieving its role and mission. Reaffirmation of UNL’s accreditation is important because it

  • affirms that UNL is providing a quality education;
  • provides valuable feedback on how well UNL is meeting its goals for student learning; and
  • creates an opportunity to assess, evaluate, and improve our programs and practices.

UNL's Goals for Accreditation

Soliciting broad participation by representative and diverse constituencies in gathering evidence for the comprehensive review, analyzing institutional performance, and reviewing conclusions and recommendations.
Keeping the campus community and other stakeholders informed about the HLC accreditation process.
Continuous Improvement
Recognizing programs and practices that contribute to UNL’s success and identifying those programs and practices that can be created and/or nurtured in support of UNL’s overall mission of teaching and research excellence.
Achieving continued institutional accreditation by meeting all HLC Criteria for Accreditation and achieving all Federal Compliance requirements.

The Reaffirmation Process

The Open Pathway Model

The Open Pathway model separates the reaffirmation of accreditation process into three components:

  1. the Quality Initiative
  2. a comprehensive evaluation (Assurance Review)
  3. the peer-review team report and recommendations
Diagram of the Reaffirmation process

Discover more about the HLC's Open Pathway Model

Higher Learning Commission Criteria

HCL Criteria 1


HCL Criteria 2

Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct

HCL Criteria 3

Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

HCL Criteria 4

Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement

HCL Criteria 5

Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

Learn more about the HLC's Criteria

UNL's Plan for Reaffirmation

In 2016-2017, a peer review team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) will conduct a site visit as part of UNL’s reaffirmation of accreditation. Prior to this visit, the university will complete a comprehensive evaluation to document the extent to which it is meeting the five criteria established by the HLC. UNL’s plan for conducting the comprehensive evaluation includes defining the goals for the process, organizing and convening work groups, engaging UNL stakeholders, and, finally, strategies for “closing the loop.”

The Committee Structure

Steering Committee

Deans Council

Accreditation Leadership Team

Accreditation Liason Coordinator

HLC Criterion Work Groups

Federal Compliance Work Group

Data Support Team

Communications Support Team

Learn more about the Committee Structure

Reaffirmation Work Flow

Preliminary planning of the HLC comprehensive evaluation began in the spring of 2012, after UNL was selected to participate in the Open Pathway. In 2013-2014, the reaffirmation process was defined, and planning continued with presentations to the Deans Council and development of the Quality Initiative. By Fall 2014, the reaffirmation plan was finalized and the process launched with presentations to over 20 UNL councils and committees. In January 2015, work group teams convened to begin the review and analyses of the criteria for accreditation and Federal Compliance requirements.

Moving forward, assurance arguments will be drafted by the end of March.

Revised drafts will be available for campus and community review in late spring with the final Argument submitted to the HLC in August 2016.

The Assurance Review will be completed by August 2016, with the expected site visit soon to follow.

Reaffirmation Work Flow Chart
View full work flow

Learn more about UNL's Key Milestones

Timeline Highlights

Year 2014-15
Date Description
Fall 2014 Criterion Work Groups convene
Spring 2015 Assurance Arguments drafted
Year 2015-16
Date Description
Summer/ Fall 2015 Assurance Arguments reviewed and revised
Spring 2016 Campus/community review and comment on Assurance Arguments
Year 2016-17
Date Description
July 2016 Final version of Assurance Arguments
October 24 & 25 Site Visit

Get Involved

As a member of the UNL community, your involvement is essential. The UNL Accreditation Steering Committee, Leadership Team, and Criterion Work Groups ask that you:

Stay informed

Watch for updates on UNL Today and visit the Accreditation website frequently. Read the Executive Summary.


Participate in the process by providing input, information, and feedback.

Participate in the Site Visit

Attend an Open Session and review the Peer Review Visit Talking Points.