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Institutional Accreditation

The Higher Learning Commission

Oklahoma Panhandle State University is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accreditation agency recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. The last comprehensive evaluation for accreditation occurred in 2020.

" 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 "

Read more about the Higher Learning Commision on the HLC website.

Open Pathway

As part of its reaccreditation the university is on what the commission calls the Open Pathway. The Open Pathway program is one of three options that an institution has for maintaining its accreditation with HLC. The Open Pathway's 10-year cycle is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement appropriate to the University Mission. In the final year of the cycle, the institution undergoes a comprehensive evaluation to ensure that it is meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement and complying with certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. Rooted in “Progress through Knowledge,” OPSU is committed to promoting excellence in the preparation of students for success in a global community.

To learn more about the University, read our Strategic Plan.

Quality Initiative

OPSU officially launched its Quality Initiative project in the fall of 2015 focusing on improving student retention and graduation. This initiative focused on building our institutional capacity to evaluate and analyze student data to improve the complement of student support programs and interventions for student success. This initiative helped the university make student success central to the Strategic Plan and Scorecard. The project also resulted in major gains in graduation rates, with total annual graduates up 51% since the start of the initiative. Another major area for growth in the initiative came through improved course pass rates in developmental education by 17% for English and 10% for Math.

View The Quality Initiative Report Here. (PDF)

Site Visit

OPSU underwent a comprehensive evaluation in the fall of 2020, with peer reviewers coming to campus on October 19, 2020 to confirm that the university is continuing to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, is pursuing institutional improvement, and complies with requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. In 2021, the Higher Learning Commission staff will review reports from the 2020 Assurance Review, Quality Initiative project, and Comprehensive Evaluation. The overall assessment will be forwarded to the Commission's Institutional Actions Council (IAC) of the Higher Learning Commission. The decision process included Commission action regarding reaffirmation of accreditation and determined the University's future Pathway eligibility.

Steering Committee

The primary role of a steering committee member is to help guide the self-study process and oversee the development of the self-study itself. The self-study is a narrative document that links to supporting evidence to demonstrate Oklahoma Panhandle State University meets HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation a current copy of which is available at:

The HLC Steering Committee for OPSU includes the President, Provost, Associate Vice President of Fiscal Affairs, Vice President of Operations, Assessment Coordinator, and the five criterion subcommittee co-chairs. These committee members are tasked with serving as an unbiased representative of the university and those the university serves.

Strategic Planning Council redesign and articulate OPSU’s Mission, Vision, and Values
October 12, 2017- November 17, 2017
Strategic Planning Council worked with budget heads and directors to specify goals in support of the mission, vision, and values.
March 9, 2018 with additional work completed electronically over the Spring and Summer of 2018
Strategic Plan Mission, Vision, Values, and Goals reviewed for comment and approved by the university.
August 8, 2018
Scorecard developed and baselines generated. Steering committee nominations made.
Fall 2018
Official Countdown to 2020 Kickoff January 4, 2019 Steering Committee develops arguments and evidence for their respective criterion.
Spring 2019
Persistence and Completion Committee final year and Quality Initiative work.
Ends Spring 2020
Assurance Argument Lock Date
September 21, 2020
HLC Site Visit
October 19-20, 2020

Program Accreditation

The Office of Educational Quality and Accountability

For additional information regarding accreditation, contact the Office of the President in Sewell Loofbourrow Hall, Room 142.