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Oklahoma Panhandle State University HLC Quality Initiative Project a Success

Panhandle State Communications on 07/20/2020

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 2010. 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.

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.

University President, Dr. Tim Faltyn stated, “The Quality Initiative has been a driving force for keeping student persistence and completion central to the university’s decision making. I appreciate the efforts of all of those who have served on this initiative, it has been a difference maker for OPSU.”

OPSU is in its 9th year of the accreditation cycle, and will undergo 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.

Provost, Dr. Julie Dinger commented, “Seeing the success we have through this initiative has been the most gratifying aspect of the Quality Initiative process. We have helped thousands of students achieve their full academic potential and supported faculty in the process.”

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 will include Commission action regarding reaffirmation of accreditation and determine the University’s future Pathway eligibility. Visit https://www.opsu.edu/About/Accreditation/ to learn more about the upcoming reaffirmation of accreditation.