Accreditation committee arrives on campus next week

Originally published November 12, 2010

With the arrival of Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools on Friday, Bradley is finishing preparations for the accreditation process.

“We are super prepared,” said Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Claire Etaugh. “We’ve been working on it for two years and nine months.”

The Higher Learning Commission inspects schools once every 10 years and for the last two years, Bradley has been preparing their self-study covering the present status as well as the future of academics and student life.

“Over the two years it took to do this, there were 75 people, students and faculty, involved in the gathering of information and writing the document,” Etaugh said. “In a self-study, you have to present both what we are doing well, as a university, as well as proof as to how.”

The self-study was given to the six evaluating educators and they will be on campus Friday through Tuesday to speak to members of the faculty as well as student leaders and students in general.

“They are here to do two things,” Etaugh said. “In the evaluation part of this role, they want to talk to groups of people. They want to speak to people who are representative of the university as a whole. In the second role, they are free to tell us what we can do that can make us better. They might tell us what works at their universities and how it might work here.”

To prepare for the arrival of the Higher Learning Commission, a resource room has been set up in the library filled with documents for the commission to review. Along with the planning on the individual level, there are a variety of events that have to be prepared for.

“It’s been 1,001 details over the past couple weeks,” said Director of Institutional Improvement Jennifer Gruening.

“We had to put a new lock on the room,” Etaugh said.

Since the commission will only visit campus once, this is the only time the Bradley community is able to speak out in support of the accreditation. Etaugh said she encourages students to attend the open meetings.

“When you think about it, for students, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity to talk about Bradley,” Etaugh said. “I think we have to keep in mind that Bradley University is here for the students.”