The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) this month reauthorized the institutional accreditation of Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois, culminating the extensive self-study process the University undertakes every 10 years for accreditation.
Olivet was recognized for maintaining a solid financial situation, being significantly mission-focused, having realistic goals and planning processes, and meeting all criteria for accreditation.
The University has earned accreditation continuously since 1965. Accreditation assesses an institution’s capacity to assure its own quality and requires the institution to produce significant evidence that it does so. The HLC, one of six independent U.S. regional accreditors, evaluates degree-granting, post-secondary educational institutions in 19 states that comprise the North Central region.
“This accreditation continues to justify the trust that our students, prospective students and their families have in our University,” said Dr. John C. Bowling, University president. “The comprehensive review process allowed the Higher Learning Commission to affirm our vision and the progress that has taken place at the University over the past decade.”
In addition to assuring quality and adherence to academic standards, accreditation determines a school’s eligibility for participation in federal (Title IV) and state financial aid programs and supports institutional eligibility for employer tuition assistance.
Accreditation standards ensure the acceptance and transfer of college credit, and a degree from an accredited institution is a prerequisite for many graduate programs. Also, professions that require licensure may not accept degrees from schools without regional accreditation.
Dr. Bowling thanked everyone on the University faculty and staff for meeting the rigorous requirements of the HLC’s affirmation process. He cited the efforts of the Olivet committee that shepherded the University-wide project over a two-year period: Dr. Sue Rattin, committee chair and Olivet’s director of Assessment and Learning Support Services; Dr. Kent Olney, chair, Department of Behavioral Sciences; Dr. Paul Koch, business professor; Dianne Schaafsma, director of Financial Services; Jonathan Bartling, dean, School of Graduate and Continuing Studies; Dr. Ivor Newsham, consultant; and Cheryl Paarlberg, administrative assistant for Dr. Rattin.
“Commitment to educating our students well, along with professional diligence, continues to make the Olivet experience an educational hallmark for our students and alumni,” said Dr. Rattin. “We take our place confidently among the best higher education institutions. The key to a successful effort to receive HLC reauthorization of accreditation is the collection of substantive and meaningful evidence to support the claims we make about our University.”
“Through focus groups, surveys, end-of-course evaluation, faculty and staff evaluations, audit reports, and a plethora of other sources of evidence, we have affirmed that Olivet is indeed a place that fosters ‘Higher Learning for a Higher Calling,’ the theme of our self-study,” Dr. Rattin added.