West Virginia University administrators have received official word that the University has been reaccredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. The HLC extended WVU s accreditation through 2014, the maximum possible extension.

A team of 12 consultant-evaluators visited campus in April, representing the culmination of a three-year self-study process to determine whether the University meets HLC standards for reaccreditation. WVU received official notification of its reaccreditation late last week.

We all should thank Provost Jerry Lang, his staff and the committee who worked so hard to prepare for the Commissions visit and supported the preparation of the self study,said WVU President David C. Hardesty Jr.Further, I want to express great appreciation to all those in the University community who have helped to make WVU the high quality institution the Higher Learning Commission described in its report. Our success was truly a cooperative effort, and all students, faculty, staff, administrators, board members, policy makers, donors and friends of the University can take great pride in this announcement.

In general, the report prepared by the HLC team applauds WVU s efforts in maintaining its high quality during tough economic times.

The report is very positive and commends the University for providing excellent academic programs in these times of fiscal constraints,Provost Gerald Lang said.

WVU has been accredited by the Commission since the 1920s. The Universitys accreditation is at the doctoral and first professional level.

The accreditation process is especially important in that it provides an important external assessment of our academic programs and the strategies for their advancement,said Lawrence Hornak, Faculty Senate chair.The results of the accreditation visit are a validation of the work of faculty across campus who engage students every day in the classroom in courses and programs that are continually molded by their research and scholarly work.

Hornak added,Perhaps most importantly, the HLC validated the viewpoint now shared by the Faculty Senate and administration leadership that WVU has a unique opportunity to initiate a university-wide strategic planning and assessment process. The organization of a process involving all stakeholders, consistent with the broad recommendations of the HLC , is moving forward this academic year.

The report encourages WVU to continue its efforts to improve assessment of student academic achievement and suggests that the University develop a strategic plan, an effort that is already under way, as reported by President Hardesty to the WVU Board of Governors at the groups Sept. 10 meeting. WVU will provide an interim report on its programmatic assessment efforts to the HLC in 2007.