As many of you know, the Higher Learning Commission is revising both its Criteria for Accreditation and the process used to secure re-accreditation. Our next visit will take place in 2019-20. We will be following the new “Pathways” model, which requires (1) continual contribution of documents to our Evidence File with the HLC; (2) an Assurance Argument to be prepared prior to 2019-20; and (3) an Assurance Review conducted, along with a visit, in 2019-20.
The fourth component of the “Pathways” process is something called the “Quality Initiative.” This improvement initiative is intended to allow institutions to aim high and take risks. The initiative can be something we design ourselves, or that we select from a menu of topics, or that we join in conjunction with a Commission-facilitated program.
Each institution must submit a Quality Initiative proposal, which requires peer review. The proposal will be judged on sufficiency of scope, clarity of outcomes, evidence of capacity, and a realistic timeline. No later than a year before our 2019-20 visit, we must submit a report on the impact of the project.
As I read the preliminary calendar, which is still in draft form, as are the requirements for accreditation and stipulations of the Pathways model, we may submit our proposal beginning in the Fall of 2014. So… why write about this now? After all, 2014 is two years away! That is exactly the point – 2014, two years away, is not a lot of time to (1) identify a process for selecting a Quality Initiative Project; (2) select one topic that appears to best fit our aspirations; (3) identify data and resources needed to accomplish the work; and (4) seek approval of our project. I have already briefed the Faculty Council on this upcoming initiative, and after the April HLC meeting, I will be asking our attendees to brief me on any changes/updates to the new Pathways model. I also expect to receive training as a peer reviewer later in this calendar year.
It is great to see the HLC take this bold step forward, even if it creates uncertainty among members about the details of these new processes. I look forward to identifying the one big thing that we can do to foster quality improvement at UM-Flint.
Ruth J. Person
The weekend of March 23-24 was a wonderful moment in time for the members of our Greek-letter Organizations (and their alumni members) to celebrate 25 years of Greek Life at UM-Flint. Friday night, alumni gathered to enjoy a social evening; on Saturday, after participating in Relay for Life, our Greeks came together for a celebratory brunch and short program, and then dispersed to local chapter activities.
Perhaps the best story of all revolves around a group of Delta Phi Epsilon sisters who gather for a reunion each year even though the UM-Flint chapter has been closed for some time. A number of those women attended both the alumni gathering and the brunch; what a great story of the power of sisterhood. All in all, it was a great way to celebrate and prepare for the next 25 years of success.
Each year some of us travel to Washington, D.C. to attend the U of M Congressional Breakfast, with a dinner held the evening before for officers of the D.C. Alumni Club. It is always a great opportunity to see UM-Flint alumni who live in the D.C. area and to meet the members of our Congressional delegation and their staff. This year’s visit took place on March 27 and 28. After the breakfast, I had an opportunity to spend part of the morning with former Senator Don Riegle discussing the challenges of our economy.
Gregg Pane, Stephen Thibodeau, Cameron Waites