Members of a national committee will visit KU next week as part of a 10-year accreditation renewal.
If accreditation of a school is similar to a driver obtaining a license, then it's time for Kansas University to visit the division of motor vehicles for a renewal.
Actually, it will be more like the licensing department making a house call next week, when members of a national accreditation committee visit KU to interview administrators, faculty, students and staff.
Members of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools are in the process of renewing KU's accreditation.
Nearly every major university, college, high school and even some elementary schools are accredited. KU has been accredited through NCA since 1913.
The recognition shows that a school is upholding its purpose and mission, KU officials said.
"The closest thing for sanctioning or licensing are these accreditations," said Andrew Debicki, vice chancellor for research, graduate studies and public service, and dean of the graduate school. Debicki also chaired a KU steering committee that compiled a 237-page assessment of KU's academic programs.
The 14-member accreditation committee, comprising administrators and faculty at Midwest institutions comparable to KU, will look at five criteria in renewing KU's academic accreditation:
- Clear and publicly stated purposes consistent with its mission and appropriate to a higher education institution.
- Effective organization of human, fiscal and physical resources.
- Accomplishment of educational and other purposes.
- Potential for continued educational effectiveness.
- Integrity in practices and relationships.
"The likelihood that our accreditation would not be renewed is pretty small," said Jeannette Johnson, assistant to the executive vice chancellor.
But she said that if the committee found serious problems it could recommend that KU be accredited for less than the normal 10-year period.
The accreditation process began in the summer of 1993 with the beginning of KU's internal assessment, Debicki said.
Members of the accreditation committee were given a copy of KU's report last month. They will be on campus Sunday though Tuesday to interview administrators and department chairs.
Public meetings will be held from 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. Monday in different rooms, each with students, faculty and staff, in the Burge Union.
Committee chair Ronald Walker, executive vice president of Loyola University, declined to be interviewed this week, saying committee members don't speak with the media.
The committee will draft a report outlining KU's strengths and weaknesses. The university should receive that and notification of its accreditation by May, Johnson said.
Debicki said the committee's report will "kind of give an idea on how the university is doing."
Cost to KU for the accreditation is about $20,000, speculated Lindy Eakin, associate vice chancellor for administration and finance. The costs include travel and lodging for committee members.