The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) accredits an institution versus any specialized program within an institution (e.g., law, nursing, business). The institutional accreditation process evaluates the ability of an entire institution to meet its overall mission by evaluating the educational activities of an institution as well as the university's governance and administrative structure, financial viability, student support services, human resources, the student learning environment, student learning, institutional effectiveness, and relationships with internal and external constituencies.
To this end, HLC adopted five Criteria for Accreditation and Core Components to inform the Commission's decisions regarding an institution's ability to meet the standards necessary for accreditation. These five criteria address:
(2) Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
(3) Teaching-Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
(4) Teaching-Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
(5) Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
Specialized program accreditation processes sets standards for professional or other specialized programs (e.g., nursing, business, medicine, law) and evaluates the ability of the individual program to meet these standards. Though these standards may be very similar to those set by HLC, the standards apply only to the specific program and not the institution as a whole.
See more about specialized accreditation.
The HLC has developed a model for continued accreditation through a program called Pathways. Pathways proposes to separate the continued accreditation process carried out through PEAQ into two components: the assurance process and the improvement process.
Creighton has selected the Open Pathway. The Open Pathway separates the continued accreditation process into two components: the Assurance Review and the Quality Initiative. Learn more about the HLC Pathways Process.