Cleveland State University (CSU) is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), the largest of all regional accreditors in the U.S. Founded in 1895, HLC is responsible for the accreditation of degree-granting colleges and universities in a 19-state region. The Commission bases its work on a mission to serve “the common good by assuring and advancing the quality of higher education.” The mission comes to life through a set of Guiding Values that support a peer review process utilizing 5 criteria for accreditation.
HLC is located at 230 S. LaSalle Street, Suite 7-500, Chicago, IL 60604; it can be reached by phone at (800) 621-7440 or (312) 263-0456.
CSU values accreditation as it represents a set of quality assurance indicators by which it can fulfill its mission as an institution of higher education. In practical terms, accreditation is tied to public support, federal financial aid, and acceptance of transfer credits. At the same time, CSU uses HLC’s criteria for accreditation as guidelines for its commitment to continuous improvement.
Accreditation at CSU
The initial accreditation dates back to 1940. The most recent reaffirmation of accreditation occurred during the 2010-2011 academic year. The next reaffirmation of accreditation is scheduled for the 2020-2021 academic year, culminating with a comprehensive evaluation site visit early in May 2021. In addition to regional accreditation, Cleveland State University has a number of programs with external, professional accreditation; a complete list is available on the Academic Planning website.
Assurance review is the complex process Higher Learning Commission (HLC) uses to determine whether an institution meets its criteria for accreditation. As Cleveland State University (CSU) is on the Open Pathway that the Commission utilizes when conducting evaluation processes, the University submitted a proposal for a Quality Initiative (QI) in Year 5 of the 10-year cycle. Our QI focused on the assessment of the General Education program. Work on the QI was included in CSU’s participation in HLC’s Assessment Academy, designed to “provide a structured, mentor-facilitated program aimed at advancing and accelerating an institution’s efforts to assess student learning.” During the last year in the decennial cycle, HLC engages CSU in a full comprehensive accreditation evaluation, which includes the following:
- The submission and review of an Assurance Argument, which represents a self-study guided by the criteria for accreditation.
- The Submission and review of a Federal Compliance form, which demonstrates how CSU is in compliance with specific federal regulations, such as financial aid Federal Title IV Funds Policy.
- The review of data generated by a Student Opinion Survey administered from March 8th to March 17th, 2021.
- An on-site peer review visit designed to allow Commission representatives to contextualize their review of CSU’s Assurance Argument by engaging various stakeholder groups in conversations about the story the University has to put forth in its effort to secure the next decade of HLC accreditation guided by the principles of continuous improvement.
Following the conclusion of the site peer review visit, an HLC decision-making body will review CSU’s documentation and the report from them
review team, based on which it will recommend an official action on behalf of the Commission.