The University of Tulsa has maintained accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1929 while other entities of the university (programs, departments, schools, etc.) maintain accreditation through specialized agencies. In order to be accredited, an institution is required to assess current programs’ strengths and weaknesses against the criteria that comprise the institutional mission statement. The institution is then expected to use that information to continually improve its program offerings. Dr. Monica Varner, Executive Director of University Assessment and Institutional Effectiveness, serves as TU’s Accreditation Liaison Officer to the HLC.
A listing of the accreditation agencies with which TU is affiliated is available on the University and Program Accreditation page. Inquiries about obtaining or reviewing documents that describe accreditation, approval or licensing should be directed to the Office of Continuous Improvement at 918-631-3262.
Why is Accreditation Important?
“Accreditation is the recognition that an institution maintains standards requisite for its graduates to gain admission to other reputable institutions of higher learning or to achieve credentials for professional practice. The goal of accreditation is to ensure that education provided by institutions of higher education meets acceptable levels of quality.” (U.S. Department of Education) There are both institutional accreditations and specialized or programmatic accreditations.
Accreditation affects every aspect of higher learning institutions: the ability of students to receive federal financial aid; the university’s successful recruitment and retention of the highest quality faculty; and the perceived value by graduates and potential employers of these graduates. As such, accreditation provides public certification of acceptable institutional quality and an opportunity and incentive for institutions to engage in the self-evaluation and self-improvement processes.
Why is Assessment Important?
Educational assessment initiatives must begin with a set of clearly articulated learning objectives that outline the skills and/or knowledge students are expected to develop upon successful completion of a program. At the institutional level, these learning objectives are guided by the TU mission statement.
The University of Tulsa has implemented comprehensive programs for assessment of student learning at the institutional, program (major), and course levels. In addition, program learning goals are prominently and consistently published on each academic unit’s website to ensure that all constituents, especially students, are aware of the skills or concepts they should develop upon successfully completing an academic program.