NMSU continues reaccreditation journey
New Mexico State Universitys reaccreditation journey will reach an important stage in the spring when the Las Cruces, Grants and Doña Ana campuses are visited by peer review teams, giving many faculty, staff, students, alumni and other constituents opportunities to share their insights.
President Michael Martin says the reaccreditation process is one of the rare opportunities where everyone comes together around a common objective.
It gives us all a shared purpose with some urgency and is a great opportunity for careful analytical introspection by the university to size up who we are, Martin says. It also allows us to seek both external evaluation and external advice and guidance from colleagues and professionals we respect. When the process is done, it asserts to the rest of the country that we remain a quality institution.
Waded Cruzado, executive vice president and provost, agrees.
This is a wonderful exercise of institutional introspection, she says. The self-study process that is part of reaccreditation is an opportunity given to us to pause and reflect on how the institution has evolved in the last 10 years how is NMSU different today, how is it similar, what are our current needs, what are our aspirations and dreams for the future?
Every 10 years, NMSU conducts an extensive institutional self-study to prepare for its reaccreditation evaluation by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The HLC offers selected institutions the option of focusing the self-study on specific issues critical to the pursuit of continuous improvement and educational excellence. NMSU Las Cruces has chosen the Foundations of Excellence in the First College Year (FOE) as its special emphasis focus. This section of the report will discuss how NMSU has addressed recommendations of an FOE Task Force and Dimension Review Teams to improve student success in the first year of college and will provide an initial assessment of the results of these efforts.
A special emphasis provides us with focus and sends a message to everyone that providing our students with a solid foundation to launch their futures, this is a priority, Cruzado says.
This emphasis gives us a more focused context for what we are measuring ourselves against and sends a message internally and externally about what we care about, Martin says. There is nothing else we are doing that is of a higher priority. We need to be prepared to go the extra mile to help those leading this effort.
A steering committee, an FOE task force, and several subcommittees began work on the HLC self-study process and the FOE analysis in fall 2005 and continue to work toward completion of the self-study report in preparation for a site visit by the HLC.
NMSUs Las Cruces and Grants campuses will be visited by a peer review team April 28-30, 2008. The Doña Ana campus also will be visited by a separate HLC team during this same time period as part of its process for independent accreditation.
This visit is unique because it will be a systemic effort in the spring. NMSU Grants will be going through the exercise with the Las Cruces campus and our Doña Ana Community College will undergo a process to seek independent accreditation. It is an opportunity to showcase the best that we have, says Cruzado.
She said independent accreditation for the community college campuses allows them to be more closely benchmarked against their peers.
Each of our campuses has a different mission. Alamogordo and Carlsbad are already independently accredited and Grants is looking at that option for the future, she says.
The final report will be released in late January or early February 2008. The report and visit will celebrate NMSU in 3D Dedicated, Diverse and Dynamic.
The nice thing about identifying those kinds of commitments or that kind of value system is that you are never there, but you always have a place to go, you are always on your journey. Were all in this together and it should be important to all of us. This is all about the university we all work for and love, Martin says.
For more information on the reaccreditation process, visit http://accreditation.nmsu.edu.