Regents Hear Higher Learning Commission Accreditation Update


Dean Barbara Glackin and Dr. Missy Nieveen-Phegley made a presentation to the Southeast Board of Regents Sept. 20, providing an overview of the University’s preparations for the Higher Learning Commission’s (HLC) on-site visit today, Sept. 23, and Tuesday, Sept. 24.

During this past summer and into the fall 2019 semester, Glackin and Phegley have been visiting departments, units, divisions and student groups across campus, to present information about Southeast’s HLC Comprehensive Quality Review. These sessions have offered information about what institutional accreditation means, and they have asked participants to reflect on how their work supports the institution’s mission statement. They also offered information on how to prepare for this week’s visit and what to expect during and after the visit. These sessions were very successful and informative, and content from these sessions were included in the University’s final Quality Highlights Report, Glackin said.

Additionally, flyers have been posted across the campus and a Moodle webpage created to provide the campus community information about HLC open forums on campus this week, Phegley said.

Glackin also reviewed the recent results of a student opinion survey administered in April as part of the accreditation process. She said 605 students responded and 14% provided comments on a range of topics, from their personal learning experiences and Student Financial Services to parking and issues concerning prior learning. The HLC shared an executive summary of these results, scoring the University based on the students’ answers to 15 questions. The University’s mean scores were above average, Glackin reported.

Southeast also invited third-party comments from community members, alumni and other stakeholders through ads in regional newspapers, email and information shared at two Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffees, Phegley said. The University received 17 third-party comments, an increase from three comments received in the 2012 HLC review. These comments covered a variety of topics – from personal stories about students’ time at Southeast, the University’s academic programs and Career Services to how Southeast’s academic programs successfully prepare students for the workforce.

On Aug. 22, the University submitted its Federal Compliance Report and the Quality Highlights Report. The Quality Highlights Report included updated information about the University’s academic restructuring, enrollment planning and strategies, scholarship programs and highlights of the recent accomplishments of University’s students, faculty and programs, Glackin said.

Glackin and Phegley concluded the presentation with an itinerary and overview of the on-site visit from the team of HLC peer reviewers today, Sept. 23, and Tuesday, Sept. 24, which will include three open forums:

  • Today, Sept 23, 2:30 p.m.: Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness, University Center Ballroom A/B
  • Today, Sept 23, 3:30 p.m.: Teaching and Learning, University Center Ballroom A/B
  • Tuesday, Sept 24, 9 a.m.: Mission Integrity, University Center Ballroom A/B

The team of reviewers, all from Midwestern universities, will be on campus till noon on Tuesday, Sept. 24, and will then remain in Cape Girardeau through part of Wednesday as they draft their report.

At the conclusion of their presentation, Southeast President Carlos Vargas, commended Glackin and Phegley for their meticulous work and the lengths to which they have gone to prepare the campus for this week’s HLC visit.