The Higher Learning Commission has renewed CSU’s as a university
for the next 10 years.
This accreditation provides public certification of acceptable
institutional quality as well as an opportunity and incentive for
self-improvement in the institutions accredited, according to the
HLC Web site, www.ncahigherlearningcommission.org.
Accreditation involves a complex and comprehensive examination
of everything the university does, said Tom Milligan, university
The university has been accredited through HLC since 1925.
“It wasn’t any great surprise that CSU was accredited again,”
The accreditation process gives CSU a chance to take an internal
look at what practices and procedures the university is doing well
and where it faces challenges.
Continued accreditation is critical in the sense that CSU is
meeting appropriate criteria set forth by a national professional
organization, said Keith Ickes, interim vice president for
Many of the programs at CSU have an additional accreditation on
top of the accreditation that the university receives. Program
accreditation is often associated with national professional
associations or with specific disciplines. A student would normally
want to receive a degree from an accredited university and people
with a PhD searching for work would want to be on staff at an
accredited institution, Ickes said.
To gain accreditation, the HLC gives the university a set of
guidelines that they must follow in a self-study. The self-study
for CSU was a two-year process and involved about 80 people
including students, administrative officials, staff and faculty
that reviewed the procedures and programs of the university, said
Robert Jones, co-coordinator of the self-study and a professor in
the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Pathology.
Prior to accreditation, a team of peer reviewers from comparable
academic institutions such as Kansas State University, Oklahoma
State University and Arizona State University visited CSU. The
three-day visit was to validate the self-study report and interview
staff, students and faculty. The team then wrote a review report to
Having accreditation is also important for students, according
to the Higher Education Reauthorization Act. For example, an
institution is required to have some kind of accreditation for
students to receive student loans and financial aid from the
“Accreditation is an indication that the programs are meeting
the objectives they are designed for,” Jones said.
The self-study reviews five main
criteria set forth by the HLC. Those criteria are:
1. The institution has clear and
publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and
appropriate to an institution of higher education.
2. The institution has effectively
organized the human, financial and physical resources necessary to
accomplish its purposes.
3. The institution is accomplishing
its educational and other purposes. (CSU broke this criterion into
four subcategories: undergraduate, graduate, research and
4. The institution can continue to
accomplish its purposes and strengthen its educational
5. The institution demonstrates
integrity in its practices and relationships.
For further information about
Colorado State accreditation page:
The HLC Web site:
The Department of Education and the
office of postsecondary education: