Share your voice: Online community building during reaffirmation of accreditation
Originally Published In
Higher Learning Research Communications
40 – 63
Generic University recently underwent a successful reaffirmation of accreditation process with The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. As part of the 3-year process, a committee, named the Education and Communication working group, was formed to inform and engage with the entire Generic community. The aim of this report is to describe the process and strategies this working group employed to achieve those goals in a distance learning environment. The primary charges of the Education and Communication working group were to (1) educate stakeholders about the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the importance of accreditation, and their role in the accreditation process; (2) provide consistent and quality communication to ensure stakeholders are appropriately informed about HLC and the self-study process; and (3) create and execute an appropriate and supportive communication and education plan during the HLC self-study process. The Education and Communication working group primarily focused on internal stakeholders, including students, faculty, and staff. Additional outreach specifically addressed associated individuals, such as alumni and field site supervisors. Other institutions may define their constituencies differently but will find that the goals, plans, and strategies described here will help them to achieve involvement by their stakeholders in accreditation processes.