Since last fall semester, a team of faculty and staff have been preparing for our Assurance Review by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), our institutional accreditor. HLC conducts the Assurance Review to determine whether the university meets the Criteria for Accreditation that addresses quality assurance processes, governance and administration, mission, finances and resources. In the Assurance Review, HLC peer reviewers will evaluate our Assurance Argument and Evidence File where we show that we meet each of HLC’s criteria.

In preparing our Assurance Argument and Evidence File, it is important to gather feedback from St. Thomas faculty and staff. The team that has prepared the Assurance Argument and Evidence File (Dr. Bernard Brady, Dr. Tonia Bock, Abigail Crouse, Dr. Erin Curran, Nora Fitzpatrick, Dr. David Landry, Dr. Agapitos Papagapitos, Dr. Fernando Sanchez, Dr. Richard Sathe, Sarah Smith and Father Larry Snyder) is now ready to have faculty and staff read their draft of the argument and evidence.

Faculty and staff will receive an email on or about Wednesday, March 21, that provides a link to the draft of the Assurance Argument. Embedded in the argument are links to evidence and links to short, open-ended Qualtrics surveys for feedback. Of note, the argument is about 80 pages in length and the timeframe to provide feedback is finite.

Faculty and staff can provide feedback between Wednesday, March 21, and Tuesday, April 10. The team who drafted the argument and evidence is grateful for any and all feedback received. Input from faculty and staff will strengthen our Assurance Argument and Evidence File, which is an important part of the accreditation process.

Ultimately, keeping in good standing with HLC has three benefits: It allows St. Thomas students to participate in federal student aid programs; it provides assurance to our prospective students, their families, employers and the public that course credits and degrees earned from us meet quality standards of higher education; and it ensures quality by verifying that we are engaged in continuous improvement.

If you have questions or concerns regarding the upcoming HLC Assurance Review, please contact Tonia Bock, Director of Accreditation and Assessment, via email or phone (651) 962-5038.

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