Did you know that the Higher Learning Commission keeps a checklist of practices that they expect every institution of higher learning to have as a baseline? They do not necessarily require us to expound on all of these in our Assurance Argument, but if we are found to be short or missing on any of these Assumed Practices, we will surely have to give an account. What are some of these shared practices? By the way, you can assume rightly that we certainly have these in place. As you examine your Policy Handbooks (remember your date?) you’ll find many of these.
In the area of Integrity, we have ethics policies governing such things as conflict of interest, nepotism, privacy of personal information, and contracting. We have policies and processes for receiving complaints and grievances, and we analyze them to better our operations. We provide complete and clear information to students and to the general public regarding our programs, courses, and all pre-requisite courses so that there are no surprises and no secrets. We provide information on our transfer credit policy–we actually have this in three different locations–along with all costs of attending Cedarville University. We have a full list of our faculty with their credentials posted publicly on our Consumer Information page. Parents can be assured ahead of time of the caliber of the instructors who will be guiding their students.
In the area of Teaching and Learning, we must assure HLC that at least 50% of our graduate courses are indeed courses designed for graduate work and not just undergraduate courses credited toward a graduate degree. As our Graduate area grows, this Assumed Practice requires a lot of dedicated new course development, and indeed, Cedarville University is in compliance with this practice. At the undergraduate level, we maintain the Assumed Practice of at least a minimum level of general education credits. Our Bible Minor as part of the general education requirements furthermore assures that all undergraduates have the added emphasis that supports our Mission statement of an “education. . .grounded in biblical truth.”
Another Teaching and Learning Assumed Practice states that our faculty participate substantially in shared governance through “1) oversight of the curriculum–its development and implementation, academic substance, currency, and relevance for internal and external constituencies; 2) assurance of consistency in the level and quality of instruction and in the expectations of student performance; 3) establishment of the academic qualifications for instructional personnel; 4) analysis of data and appropriate action of assessment of student learning and program completion.” Comparing this with our own Shared Governance Policy in the Faculty Handbook: “The faculty of Cedarville University shall act upon all matters of routine faculty business in pursuance of already established University policies and shall be responsible for establishing additional education and academic policies, subject to the approval of academic administrators, the president and the board of trustees,” we conclude that we meet this Assumed Practice.
In the area of Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness, it is assumed that the institution is able to meet its current financial obligations, that it has a prepared budget, maintains effective systems for collecting, analyzing, and applying institutional information, and undergoes external audits and maintains audited financial statements. All of these are established practices at Cedarville.
As part of the site visit, the HLC Reviewers will examine us against a checklist of Assumed Practices–many more than have been mentioned in this brief update. We will be ready for them!
PS: Don’t forget to answer this post’s trivia question. The first ten correct answers will be entered into a drawing for a prize. Prizes are provided compliments of the Advancement Division. Thank you, Dave Bartlett!
PSS: Keep your eye on the timeline–it’s just about to switch to Review Round #3. Many thanks to the Steering Committee for the arduous work of Review Round #2!
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