Citing quality in personnel, instruction and support services, the Higher Learning Commission formally notified Eastern Illinois University of its reaccreditation for another 10-year period.
The good news was revealed last week in a 60-plus-page report submitted by an external seven-member Peer Review Team.
“The accreditation review and evaluation could not have concluded with a more favorable outcome for us,” said President Bill Perry and Provost Blair Lord in a joint statement to the EIU campus. “We offer our deepest thanks to all, faculty and staff, for their commitment to the educational quality Eastern provides to our students.”
The report was the culmination of nearly two years of preparatory work, followed by a three-day campus visit in October by the Peer Review Team. Nearly 70 individuals were directly involved in conducting and preparing a self-study. The process further engaged other members of the campus community, either directly or indirectly.
“We cannot express adequately our enormous appreciation for the fine work and commitment of all participants in this process, with special thanks to Dean Bob Augustine and Dr. Jeff Stowell, who co-chaired the self-study preparation,” Perry and Lord wrote. “This successful outcome could not have been achieved without everyone’s assistance.”
The Peer Review Team evaluated the university on five criteria: EIU’s mission; integrity (ethical and responsible conduct); teaching and learning (quality, resources and support); teaching and learning (evaluation and improvement); and resources, planning and institutional effectiveness.
“In the review of each of the five criteria, many positive items were mentioned as evidence of our satisfying them," Perry said. "We are, of course, delighted with this assessment.”
The findings revealed a “student-centered campus culture” reflected in support for activities that “build student mindedness, integrative learning experiences and student support services (e.g., department-based academic tutoring). EIU also “demonstrates strong residence life programming, student-faculty ratios averaging 15:1 over the last nine years, bridge programs to support academic success, and early alert activities, to name a few.
“Strong evidence that student success is valued at EIU is provided by the institution’s high retention and graduation rates, as well as through verbal confirmation by faculty, staff and students in on-site interviews,” the report continued.
Eastern’s strong commitment to student learning and engagement through its programs was also cited. “Faculty, staff and students were able to identify a number of high impact practices (e.g., undergraduate research and education abroad) that are funded by the university, celebrated by various offices of the university, and facilitated by academic, academic support, and student support/development offices.”
Volunteerism stood out. “The university is justifiably proud of its program and its presence on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll,” the report read.
Other notable points included the following:
Perry and Lord also noted that the visiting team’s report “offers a number of helpful observations for our consideration in the years ahead, and we will certainly take them seriously. We shall remain vigilant in our attention to educational quality.”