Reflection is a powerful and essential part of the learning process. As educators, we must always consider our students’ goals; their current knowledge; their strengths and weaknesses; and what educational experiences will best provide a path to future success. This process is also essential to our continued success as an institution of higher learning. We must seize opportunities that reflect our strengths, conquer our challenges and take actions that best serve our many stakeholders.
NIU’s Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaccreditation self-study process and the upcoming site visit, Monday, March 3, through Wednesday, March 5, provide an opportune time for us to learn and grow as an institution.
For nearly two years, the HLC self-study team – consisting of faculty, staff, administrators and students – has worked to document our successes and clarify the challenges we must address to move forward. I applaud these efforts and urge you to read their report and executive summary. I also encourage you to welcome members of the site visit team when they arrive on campus and take advantage of opportunities to meet with them – whether in specific meetings or in open forums. NIU has a great many programs of which to be proud, and I’m certain that the HLC Site Team will be impressed with the quality of our academic and student support programs and our dedication to student career success.
I also expect the site visit team will ask probing questions and examine the ways in which we support our mission. I look forward to their insights and suggestions for meeting the challenges that we face.
Just as students must work hard to achieve success, we will have to act on the findings of the self-study and site visit team as we move forward, together. Some of the actions I’ve talked about recently represent our first steps toward meeting the challenges we face: creating greater fiscal transparency and sustainability, revisioning the undergraduate baccalaureate experience and creating ties with international partners. Be assured that there will be more to come.