In April 2001, a group of 18 evaluators primarily from peer institutions in the region will visit the university to determine if OSU is fulfilling its mission and meeting the goals and values in the university's mission statement. The university needs accreditation so students at OSU will continue to have credits and degrees recognized by accredited institutions and to remain eligible for federal financial aid.
As part of the accreditation process the university mission statement has been updated. The Oregon State Board of Higher Education has approved the document and it is available on the Web. The mission statement will help guide the university in the accreditation process.
"It's important to understand that accreditation will involve everyone on campus," said Bob Burton, associate department chair in the Mathematics Department and chair of the OSU Accreditation Steering Committee. "This is an opportunity for the university to take a good hard look at who we are and what we want to accomplish in the future." Burton also indicated that the accreditation provides and excellent opportunity for self-examination; not only the many things the university does extremely well, but also those areas that need attention and improvement.
The Committee will begin meeting and gathering data in the next few months to prepare a self-study document that looks at how well the university is meeting the goals and values established in the mission statement.
"Each unit on campus will be assessed by the goals and values contained in the mission statement," Burton said. "It's important that people on campus look at the mission statement and think about how it relates to their unit."
The Accreditation Steering Committee will prepare a draft report this summer based on information that will be collected during winter and spring terms. In the fall the campus community will have a chance to review and provide input to the self-study document.
"Everyone will have an opportunity to comment on OSU'S self-study document, said Gary Beach, who is helping to coordinate the process.
It was further noted by Andy Hashimoto, vice provost for Academic Affairs, that there is interest in connecting resource allocations to the goals and values of the university. This already has started with the last round of budget requests in which units were asked how the budget request would advance one or more of the university's goals.
"For that reason, it's important that people familiarize themselves with the document," Hashimoto said.
Members of the OSU Accreditation Steering Committee are Burton, Hashimoto, Ron Adams, Leslie Burns, Karyle Butcher, Irma Delson, Thayne Dutson, Toby Hayes, Mark McCambridge, Maggie Niess, Mike Quinn, Larry Roper, Henry Sayre, Rob Specter, Meg Swan, Victor Tremblay, Melanie Spraggins and Karen Swanger.
For more information about accreditation and OSU's new mission statement, or to find out how you can become involved in the process, contact Burton at 7-8009 or Beach at 7-0912.
Editor's note: This is the first in a series of articles that will look at the process of accreditation at OSU. In the future, we will look at the goals and values contained in the university's mission statement and examples of how units on campus are meeting those goals and values.