For an HLC job well done: Thank You!
Editor's note: University of Wisconsin-Parkside Chancellor Debbie Ford sent the following congratulatory email to campus Wednesday after the Higher Learning Commission Visiting Team ended its three-day stay.
Students and Colleagues:
Thank you for engaging in the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaffirmation of accreditation and for showcasing the best of UW-Parkside during the peer review team visit. I was proud of our campus community before the visit, and I am even more proud today! I am reminded of the words of our university's first chancellor, Irvin Wyllie: "The University of Wisconsin-Parkside has been and will continue to be the place where ideas are born, challenged and changed ? and a learning community that enriches minds, changes lives, and brightens futures." Thank you for being a part of our learning community.
Please join me in recognizing Dr. Kim Kelley and Dr. Rob Barber for outstanding leadership during our self-study process. They led us through the changing HLC criterion with ease, made the process fun, entertained us along the Path to Our Promise, and engaged us in the peer review team visit. The self-study committees, Steering Committee, and Leadership Team provided time, energy, and focus to achieve the successful creation of the self-study document, virtual resource room, and peer review team visit. Outstanding work!
I am especially proud of the outcomes achieved from the self-study and peer review process and shared these with the peer review team during the opening meeting on Monday:
- Recommitment to UW-Parkside's mission and four hallmarks
- Campus engagement around shared goals and priorities
- In-depth review and analysis of what we do well and what we need to improve
- Campus-wide focus on student learning
- Adoption of campus-wide shared learning goals
- Evolution of a culture of integrated planning and continuous improvement
- Identification of future directions that will guide our strategic planning
Here are just a few comments heard by members of the peer review team during their visit:
- "Planning is foundational and I recognize that planning has been intentional."
- "Across the campus, people feel personal responsibility for enrollment growth."
- "Pride is showing through and there is great pride around the four-college model."
- "UW-Parkside demonstrates great responsibility for the quality of its academic programs."
- "The motivation of faculty and staff to improve student retention is laudable."
- "The strategic plan, academic plan, integrated marketing plan, and creation of the Office of Institutional Effectiveness are key symbols of the university's tenacity."
- "The university consistently demonstrates a high level of ethical conduct in its operations."
- And finally, the peer review team took special note that more than 100 staff members, 60 faculty members, and 50 students attended Monday's open forums. One peer review team member commented that he was pleasantly surprised, and the strong turnout showed that people care about their university.
As for next steps, we will receive a draft report from the peer review team in late May and we should know the outcomes from the HLC reaffirmation of accreditation process in early fall. Rob and Kim will share more details throughout the summer.
I find this hard to believe, but in just a few months, I will celebrate the fourth anniversary of my inauguration as your chancellor. As I proudly accepted the responsibility of leading this great university, I told you that together we would test ourselves, challenge ourselves, and build upon our strengths. I said that our successes would be many and meaningful. Because of your efforts ? not just in preparation for the reaffirmation of accreditation but through your consistent dedication to UW-Parkside ? those words ring true today.
Thank you! And I look forward to our work together as we advance the mission and vision of the University of Wisconsin-Parkside.