Assessment, Accreditation and Strategic Planning

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is institutional accreditation important?

Institutional accreditation provides recognition that an institution meets certain quality standards. Accreditation means that credits and degrees earned will be respected by employers and other educational institutions. Accreditation facilitates transferability of coursework and it provides access to student financial aid and certain federal funding opportunities.

How long has Western Illinois University been accredited?

Western Illinois University is fully accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. The University was first accredited in 1913 and accreditation has been continuous since that time. 

What is the Higher Learning Commission?

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an independent corporation that was founded in 1895 as one of six regional institutional accreditors in the United States. HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in the North Central region, which includes 19 states

HLC's mission is to serve the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher learning.

What criteria does HLC use in accrediting colleges and Universities?

Western Illinois University will be evaluated according to the following five criteria, which are the primary subjects of the written study and the on-campus visit:

Criterion 1. Mission 

Criterion 2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct 

Criterion 3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support

Criterion 4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement 

Criterion 5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness 

What else can I do to help me or my department prepare for the visit?

View this PowerPoint for suggestions on how to prepare.