NIU to conduct self-study for evaluation

By Lesley Rogers

NIU is conducting a self-study to evaluate and examine all aspects of the university for its 10-year accreditation process.

Every 10 years NIU goes through a reaccreditation process including a site visit from the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA). The last site visit was in 1983-1984 and a new 13-member team will visit at the end of February 1994.

“The North Central Association sets up criteria that the university must meet in order to be accredited, then the university must continue to meet the standards in order to be reaccredited,” NIU Provost J. Carroll Moody said.

The self-study is a requirement for reaccreditation, but it also is helpful to the university to examine areas of the school that could use improvement.

“The self-study is an essential part of a university. The report will look at every aspect,” Moody said. “It is an opportunity to do a genuine self-study of strengths and weaknesses and look at things that we don’t normally look at every year,” Moody said.

Last year, a steering committee was formed to begin the study. Twelve subcommittee chairs led groups of faculty and administrators that conducted the actual study.

The steering committee is currently reviewing the first draft of the self-study submitted by the 12 subcommittees. Administrators and other faculty will revise and polish the draft for its publication in mid-October.

“We found a number of things from minor to fairly important matters that we ought to address and improve. But we also found out, from doing the self-study, that Northern is doing very well,” said James Mellard, chairman of the self-study.

“The NCA accreditation is a bond that guarantees honesty and integrity and good work. The accreditation is a way the university can guarantee to the students that they are getting good value for their money,” Mellard said.

The self-study will be available to look at for everyone in the university. Copies will be put in the library for students, faculty and staff to read.

The NCA is a Chicago-based accreditation agency serving Midwestern universities and colleges. The site-visitation committee members are chosen from universities with similar backgrounds.

The committee will stay on campus for about four days, Moody said, they will talk with faculty and students, and tour Founders Memorial Library, the Holmes Student Center and the residence halls.

“The NCA chooses the team that visits the school. Their job is to look at the mission of the institute and see that it is accomplished,” Moody said.

The self-study will be reviewed by the committee when they visit in 1994.

“The net result of these findings will be beneficial to the students and the university,” Mellard concluded.