April 30, 2008 by Julie M. Hughes NMSU News Center
An evaluation team representing the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools announced its preliminary recommendation that New Mexico State University’s Las Cruces and Grants campuses be reaccredited for a 10-year period during an exit report today, April 30.
Members of the 12-member team will return to their respective institutions and begin preparing a formal report from their comprehensive evaluation visit that took place April 28-30.
“Accreditation is about two things – quality assurance and improvement. We were highly impressed with the programs, initiatives and individuals at NMSU and particularly the institution’s progress in the last three years,” said Celestino Fernandez, of the University of Arizona and chair of the HLC Consultant-Evaluator Team. “NMSU should continue on the trajectory it has charted for itself.”
The HLC visit was the culmination of NMSU’s extensive institutional review addressing the commission’s requirements and criteria for reaccreditation. In February, the university submitted a comprehensive self-study report to the HLC, which included a special emphasis focus on the Foundations of Excellence® in the First College Year (FoE).
“Reaccreditation is essential if NMSU intends to continue on its journey to excellence and service,” said NMSU President Michael Martin. “The HLC team proved to be first rate. They brought expertise, commitment and insight to their tasks. We sincerely appreciate their service to NMSU. We look forward to their report and we are committed to implementing both the letter and spirit of their recommendations.”
“The importance of the Higher Learning Commission accreditation process is that it provided our institution with an opportunity to reflect on our mission, accomplishments and directions for the future,” said Waded Cruzado, executive vice president and provost. “The team’s recommendation for reaccreditation is a testament to the quality of our faculty, students, staff and alumni and it galvanizes our commitment to the constituents that we serve. Faithful to our mission, we take pride in making a difference, in advancing knowledge and in serving the educational needs of our diverse populations.”
The Higher Learning Commission is one of six accrediting agencies in the U.S. that provide institutional accreditation on a regional basis. Institutional accreditation evaluates an entire institution and accredits it as a whole. Other agencies provide accreditation for specific programs. Accreditation is voluntary. The commission accredits about 1,100 institutions of higher education in a 19-state region. The commission is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education.
NMSU was first accredited by HLC in 1926, with its last full review in 1998. Its accreditation is at the doctoral-degree level and includes degree sites at various other locations within the state.
The HLC team will submit a formal recommendation to the commission for continuing status for the university. The recommendation of the site team will go through a review process and then the commission’s board of trustees makes the final decision.