Higher Learning Commission approves UALR’s Quality Initiative

UALR recently received approval from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to proceed with our proposed Quality Initiative project as part of the Open Pathway reaccreditation process.

The Open Pathway is one of three options to maintain accreditation with the HLC. This method focuses on quality assurance and institutional improvement and allows institutions to design a Quality Initiative that addresses current university needs and objectives while meeting standards reflected in HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation.

The initiative, “Facilitating Continuous Improvement: The Implementation of UALR’s Decision Support System (DSS),” will support the university’s efforts to facilitate a data-informed culture of continuous improvement.

“Decision makers at all levels will have access to data they can trust to aid in problem-solving, enrollment planning, student learning, retention, degree completion, and other activities essential to meeting the needs of our students and community,” said Dr. Zulma Toro, Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost.

A Quality Initiative Task Force made of up faculty, administrators, and staff from various departments led the research and planning phases of the project beginning in the 2013-14 academic year.

The task force will oversee the implementation of the DSS including a data warehouse, assessment system, degree audit, and other tools to help identify problems, propose solutions, and conduct planning.

Following the recommendation of a faculty-led group, UALR will adopt Blackboard Outcomes as its assessment management system. The university-wide assessment tool is a key component of the DSS and the accreditation process.

“Intentional and ongoing assessment requires that educational outcomes be supported and informed by reliable data focused on student achievement,” Toro said.

Once implemented, the DSS will give university personnel the data and tools needed to assess student learning outcomes and make improvements to programming based on data that is “current, complete, and correct.”

UALR’s most recent accreditation review was conducted in 2009. More information about the accreditation process will be forthcoming.

See the HLC Approval Letter.

For more information, go to UALR’s Quality Initiative or HLC Accreditation.

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