Feedback needed for NIU accreditation

By Brian Guttman

There’s a week left for community members to give feedback on a report that deals with NIU’s reaccreditation efforts.

NIU’s once-a-decade accreditation is coming up next year, and the Higher Learning Commission Steering Committee is making the finishing touches on a self-study report.

On Sept. 1, the self-study report was made available to encourage feedback from students and faculty in order to ease the editing process, and the feedback deadline is Sept. 30. The report can be found by going to

“We want to know what you think about what’s going on in this report,” said Steering Committee chair Doris Macdonald.

The self-study report has taken more than two years to compile, and it will be submitted to the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools in early January.

“Right now we’re at the stage where we have the self-study report drafted up,” Macdonald said. “We will continue to work on it through the fall semester, but by the end of the fall semester it’s ready to go.”

The committee will take a look at the feedback it receives and take it into account when revising the final draft for the evaluation team.

The comments the committee receives will help provide a better perspective on the report, and also draw attention to any mistakes or factual errors.

“We have been kind of in a unique position in that the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting body, has been changing their criteria even as were doing our important self study to get ready for the site visit,” said Ray Alden, executive vice president and provost.

The report focuses on mission, teaching and learning, ethical and responsible conduct, and resources and planning.

The data in these areas are condensed into a report which serves as a general overview of how the school is doing.

“It is an enormous process where we involve a number of people. I think over 125 or so have been involved in the process,” said Carolinda Douglass, vice provost for Academic Planning and Development.

When the commission sends an evaluation team to the campus in March, it will use the report as a reference. The report and the visit are necessary to the commission’s decision to grant a school accreditation.