by Amanda Cantu
The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has formally notified Cameron University of its continued accreditation status.
Members of the HLC visited the campus for four days in November. At the end of February, the members recommended an unconditional affirmation of Cameron’s accreditation with no reports or interim visits.
The HLC reviews accreditation every 10 years and Cameron has been continuously accredited as a four-year university since 1973. However, this accreditation report is the finest in the university’s history.
Dr. John McArthur, Vice President for Academic Affairs, was enthusiastic about Cameron’s status and grateful to those who helped make the accreditation possible.
“This is a great accomplishment for Cameron and is recognition of what all the students, faculty and staff have done for the last 10 years,” Vice President McArthur said. “I am thankful for everyone who helped with this process, especially Dr. Margery Kingsley, Dr. Gary Buckley, Benson Warren, Dr. Mike Dunn, Dr. Courtney Glazer and Dr. Karla Oty, but there are many more.”
He said that the process for accreditation is a long and elaborate one, one for which Cameron began planning in 2006.
One way in which the university prepared for the review was by assembling a 226-page self-study entitled Cameron University: Solid Foundation. Quality Choices. Excellence for the Second Century.
The study describes how Cameron meets the requirements for accreditation, including an illustration of how the university fulfills 21 criteria for accreditation mandated by the HLC as well as how Cameron has addressed concerns the HLC raised 10 years ago.
While Vice President McArthur admitted the process was daunting, he also acknowledged that it was very rewarding.
“This has really been at the forefront of my mind for at least two years. It was very stressful, but we received so much support, and I am thankful for that. The support from the alumni, business leaders, key constituents and the entire community was fantastic,” he said.
Though the HLC made no criticisms of Cameron, they did make some recommendations for consideration.
One suggestion was that the university continues its program review process. The process ensures that student needs are being met and the right programs are being offered.
It was proposed that Cameron continue to monitor enrollment management as well by making sure the school is doing everything it can to provide financial aid to students.
The HLC also recommended that the university improve retention and graduation rates through the assessment of student learning, particularly regarding general education.
Additionally, it was suggested that Cameron provide added training for employees and consider making changes to the advisement process, a change that has already been made with the opening of the Advisement Center in North Shepler.
With the reaffirmation of accreditation, Vice President McArthur said the university is now looking ahead to what is next for Cameron.
“Now, we will look at the considerations. For my part, I will immediately address things regarding academic affairs, like improved retention and general education assessment,” he said.
Overall, Vice President McArthur said the accreditation process was a great experience that has only positive ramifications for the university.
“The whole point is to make Cameron a better place and to make sure a Cameron degree means something,” he said.