Students are not the only ones to get report cards — colleges do too. And William Woods University has received a glowing one.
Like other educational institutions, William Woods goes through occasional reviews by an accreditor to make sure that its programs and people are performing well. The university is accredited by the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission (HLC), which is one of six regional accreditors in the United States and oversees degree-granting post-secondary schools in Missouri and 18 other states.
After a three-year preparation process and an October visit from a committee of HLC reviewers, William Woods has officially been granted continued accreditation.
“We are thrilled by the positive results of this review. It is a testament that the university continues to flourish,” said Dr. Jahnae H. Barnett, president of William Woods.
Every school under HLC is judged on five categories:
- understanding the university’s mission
- acting with integrity
- providing a quality learning experience
- evaluating and improving programs
- developing resources, structures, and processes that serve the university’s needs — both now and for the future
The commission found that William Woods had no concerns in any of these areas.
“Not having any follow up or areas of concern is very significant,” said Dr. Michael Westerfield, executive vice president for academic affairs at William Woods, who oversaw the process and stated: “It is a remarkable achievement. Any institution would welcome these results.”
And Dr. Westerfield should know. He has expertise in accreditation and has reviewed more than fifty other colleges for HLC.
William Woods began planning for this milestone in the fall of 2013 by holding campus-wide meetings, appointing committees to collect information, and analyzing the university’s strengths and weaknesses.
“During this process, we were able to shift the university’s culture of thinking towards data,” said Dr. Westerfield. “Looking ahead, we are continuing that shift and making data-driven decisions, which provides a better sense of how we are doing and where we are going.”
And where is William Woods going?
“We are on a path of dramatic transformation,” said Dr. Barnett. “The committee approved our plans to increase the undergraduate and graduate offerings, so we will continue to add new programs and degrees, transform current ones, and expand our locations. This is another extremely exciting time for the university.”