February 23, 2021
By News Director Jared Atha
Southwestern Oklahoma State University recently received news that its status as an accredited university has been extended until 2030-2031.
The Institutional Actions Council of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) granted SWOSU the 10-year accreditation at its January meeting. The decision is based on the recommendation of a peer team, which reviewed the university during a comprehensive evaluation for reaffirmation in October 2020.
In a press release, university officials said to achieve reaffirmation, a university must demonstrate that it meets HLC’s five criteria for accreditation. Those five being 1) mission-driven operations; 2) integrity; 3) quality education; 4) systems for assessment and continuous improvement; and 5) sufficient resources and planning processes. The peer review team found that SWOSU met all five criteria.
A spokesperson with the university said that a regular four-year review will take place in 2024-2025 but will not involve an on-campus visit from HLC.
Officials say preparations for the 10-year comprehensive evaluation took several years. The effort was led by a steering team consisting of Provost Dr. James South, Vice President for Student Affairs Dr. Ruth Boyd, Vice President for Administration and Finance Brenda Burgess, Office of Sponsored Programs Director Dr. Lori Gwyn, and Director of Libraries Jason Dupree. An additional 50 faculty and staff served on criterion teams, and many more faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members contributed before and during the evaluation.
HLC is the accrediting agency for a 19-state region, including all Oklahoma colleges and universities. SWOSU has been regionally-accredited since 1949. It also offers 14 nationally-accredited degree programs.