In December 2020, at the close of DU’s 10-year review cycle, our accrediting body—the Higher Learning Commission (HLC)—reaffirmed that the University of Denver continues to meet its Criteria for Accreditation, a distinction we have proudly held since our initial review in 1914.
DU is on the “Open Pathway,” one of three options institutions have for maintaining HLC accreditation. It follows a 10-year cycle and is focused on quality assurance and institutional improvement. The Open Pathway is unique in that its improvement component, the Quality Initiative, affords institutions the opportunity to pursue improvement projects that meet their current needs and aspirations.
HLC Steering Committee and Working Groups Compile First Draft of Assurance Arguments
Planning Committee Reviews First Draft and Writes Second Draft with Writing Team
Fall 2019 - Spring 2020
Campus-Wide Engagement Activities and Events
Planning Team Finalizes Arguments with Stakeholder Input, Submits Final Arguments to HLC
Early Fall 2020:
Finalize Details for HLC Campus Visit
October 19-20, 2020:
Campus Visit by HLC Peer Reviewers
The Open Pathway’s 10-year cycle includes the following institutional reviews:
Institutions submit an annual Institutional Update, which is reviewed by HLC to monitor organizational health, comply with certain federal requirements, and identify any changes that may require HLC follow up. HLC will also apply change processes as appropriate to planned institutional developments, and will monitor institutions through reports, visits and other means as it deems appropriate.
Year 4: Assurance Review
Institutions complete an Assurance Review to ensure they are continuing to meet HLC’s Criteria for Accreditation. The institution provides documentation demonstrating how it fulfills each Criterion and Core Component. A peer review team evaluates these materials and recommends whether the institution should continue in the cycle or whether additional monitoring is required. HLC’s Institutional Actions Council (IAC) reviews and takes official action on the recommendation.
Years 5 - 9: Quality Initiative
Institutions design and undertake a Quality Initiative project. HLC peer reviewers approve an initial project proposal, as well as a report on the outcomes of the project.
Year 10: Comprehensive Evaluation
Note: This will occur at the University of Denver in October 2020.
Institutions undergo a comprehensive evaluation to ensure they are meeting the Criteria for Accreditation, pursuing institutional improvement and complying with certain requirements set by the U.S. Department of Education. This review leads to an action regarding the reaffirmation of the institution’s accreditation.
More About Comprehensive Evaluation:
HLC conducts comprehensive evaluations of member institutions to confirm that the institution continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, is pursuing institutional improvement and complies with requirements sets by the U.S. Department of Education. Evaluations are conducted by teams of peer reviewers.
The evaluation that occurs in the final year of each pathway cycle—Year 10 for Open Pathway—includes an action regarding the institution’s reaffirmation of accreditation.
Assurance Argument Goals
HLC conducts an Assurance Review to determine whether an institution continues to meet the Criteria for Accreditation, every 4 and 10 years. The University of Denver is approaching our 10 year review and is currently drafting assurance arguments and collecting evidence for our comprehensive evaluation in 2020. The assurance arguments detail how the University is meeting the criteria set forth by HLC, using materials such as websites, policies, reports and more as evidence. The Criteria for Accreditation are as follows:
- Criterion 1: Mission
- The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
- Criterion 2: Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
- The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
- Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
- The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
- Criterion 4: Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
- The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
- Criterion 5: Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
- The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.
The University will submit both the assurance arguments with an evidence file, using HLC’S online Assurance System in the summer of 2020 after significant consultation with campus stakeholders, including faculty, staff and students. Prior to DU’s campus visit, a team of peer reviewers evaluates the assurance argument with corresponding evidence to provide a recommendation as to whether the institution meets the Criteria for Accreditation.
After the visit, a decision-making body within HLC reviews the University’s materials and the recommendation from the peer review team and takes official action.
Gaps Analysis Group
The Gaps Analysis group is reviewing all five criterion arguments and identify the gaps where content and/or evidence is missing and needed.
Name Title Casey Dinger Interim Vice Provost of Internationalization Adrienne Gonzales Director of the Center for World Languages and Cultures Clint Emmerich Assistant Provost, Budget and Analysis Keith Miller Interim Associate Provost of Graduate Education Michele Hanna Associate Professor, Graduate School of Social Work Richard Colby Assistant Director, First Year Writing, and Teaching Professor, Writing Program Chip Reichardt Professor, Psychology Christina Paguyo Director, Academic Assessment Allison Friederichs Associate Dean and Teaching Associate Professor, University College Sarah Hoffman Assistant Provost, Student Success Deigan Silver Associate Professor, Media, Film and Journalism Studies, Director, CILCA Kimberly Bender Interim Associate Provost for Research Lory-Ann Varela Interim Executive Director of Culture, Access and Transitions Program
Criterion 1: Mission
The Mission Committee is responsible for ensuring the University's mission, which guides our operations, is clear and articulated publicly. Thank you to the following people for drafting the initial argument for Criterion 1:
Name Title Unit Kristin Deal Interim Director Office of Diversity and Inclusion Cara DiEnno Associate Director Center for Community Engagement to advance Scholarship and Learning Allana Forte Assistant Vice Chancellor Enrollment Garret Glass Assistant Director, Production Newman Center Theresa Hernandez* Assistant Vice Chancellor, Campus Partnerships Information Technology Darrin Hicks* Professor, Communication Studies College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Madeline Phipps Sr. Media Relations Specialist Department of Marketing and Communications Audrey Schiavone Teaching Assistant Professor Writing Program
* — Committee chairs
Criterion 2: Integrity
The Integrity Committee is responsible for ensuring that the University acts with integrity and that our conduct is ethical and responsible. Thank you to the following people for drafting the initial argument for Criterion 2:
Name Title Unit Sarah Buenavidez Associate Director, Graduate Enrollment Graduate Education Brian Gonzales Clinical Assistant Professor Graduate School of Social Work Niki Latino Associate Vice Chancellor Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Jerron Lowe Director, Human Resource Partnerships Human Resources and Inclusive Community Timothy Sisk* Professor Josef Korbel School of International Studies Tiffany Wen Director Internal Audit Paul Kosempel* Teaching Associate Professor, Pioneer Leadership Living and Learning Community Pioneer Leadership Program Audry LaCrone Communications Manager Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
* — Committee chairs
Criterion 3: Teaching and Learning — Quality, Resources and Support
The Teaching and Learning — Quality, Resources and Support Committee is responsible for ensuring the University provides high quality education, wherever and however our offerings are delivered. Thank you to the following people for drafting the initial argument for Criterion 3:
Name Title Unit Ayla Engelhart Associate Director, Student Outreach Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Brian Gearity* Director, MA Coach and Sport Ed Graduate School of Professional Psychology Anthea Johnson Rooen Director, College Access and Pipeline Campus Life and Inclusive Excellence Richard Colby Teaching Associate Professor Writing Program Luc Beaudoin Vice Chancellor for Internationalization Office of Internationalization Virginia Pitts Director, University Teaching Office of Teaching and Learning Adrienne Gonzales Interim Director World Languages and Cultures Ingrid Tague* Associate Dean College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
* — Committee chairs
Criterion 4: Teaching and Learning — Evaluation and Improvement
The Teaching and Learning — Evaluation and Improvement Committee is responsible for ensuring the University demonstrates responsibility for the quality of our educational programs, learning environments and support services. The committee also evaluates the effectiveness of those programs, environments and services for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement. Thank you to the following people for drafting the initial argument for Criterion 4:
Name Title Unit Jennifer Anderson Associate Director, CPD Info and Systems Career and Professional Development Michael Brent Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Michelle Kruse-Crocker Teaching Associate Professor University College Christina Paguyo Director, Academic Assessment Office of Teaching and Learning Maggie Red* Associate Dean, Programs and Partnerships Colorado Women's College Nancy Sasaki Teaching Professor Natural Sciences and Mathematics Rachel Walsh Associate Professor, Languages and Literatures College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Kate Willink* Faculty Director Office of Teaching and Learning
* — Committee chairs
Criterion 5: Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness
The Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness Committee's responsibility is to ensure the University's resources, structures and processes are sufficient to fulfill our mission, improve the quality of our educational offerings and respond to future challenges and opportunities. Thank you to the following people for drafting the initial argument for Criterion 5:
Name Title Unit Emily Allen Program Coordinator Pioneer Leadership Program Don Bacon Professor, Marketing Daniels College of Business Linda Kosten* Vice Provost Planning and Budget Leandra Martinez Assistant Controller Controller's Office Chip Reichardt* Professor, Psychology College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences Keith Rhodes Teaching Assistant Professor Writing Program James Rosner Associate Vice Chancellor Facilities Shannon Seales Learning and Development Consultant Human Resources and Inclusive Community
* — Committee chairs
- Jennifer Karas, Vice Provost of Academic Affairs
- Alex Lustig, Project Manager