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NEWS

Dec. 7, 2004

RSU To Be Recommended for Continued Accreditation as Four-Year University

An evaluation team from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools has indicated it will recommend continued accreditation as a four-year institution for Rogers State University.

Commonly known as the NCA, the organization is the primary accrediting body for colleges and universities in a 19-state region of the U.S.

To meet NCA requirements, RSU conducted a detailed review of all institutional operations including governing structure, educational programs, student services and finances. The 18-month review, completed by a steering committee of faculty, staff and students, culminated in a 230-page Self-Study Report, which was submitted to the NCA in September.

The evaluation team recently conducted a "site visit" to meet with RSU faculty, staff and students and to verify that the university's self-study report was thorough and accurate. At the conclusion of its visit, the team indicated the university met all requirements for continued accreditation at the baccalaureate level. The team also indicated it would recommend that RSU undergo its next comprehensive evaluation in 2014-2015, the maximum period of time allowed between evaluation visits by NCA.

"The high quality of the university's academic programs, credentialed faculty and significantly expanded library resources, combined with other factors, have contributed to the strength of the university and the successful evaluation received from its accrediting organization," said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

Following its own review process, the full NCA commission will consider the recommendations of its evaluation team, with final approval expected sometime next year.

The evaluation team also indicated it would recommend the removal of a stipulation that requires RSU to obtain approval from the commission to offer additional bachelor's degrees. The removal of the requirement would allow the university to develop new bachelor's degree programs without obtaining approval from the commission. The requirement was implemented when RSU received initial accreditation as a four-year university in 2000.

"The university has demonstrated it has the experience in curriculum development and the proper level of program assessment required to develop and offer new degrees," Wiley said.

RSU will continue to be required to obtain the approval of the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents, its governing board, and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education prior to offering new degrees and making changes to existing programs.

The evaluation team included university educators from Indiana, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio and Wyoming.

The North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, founded in 1895, is one of six regional institutional accrediting associations in the nation and is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education. Based in Chicago, the association has accredited 950 colleges and universities in the north central region including Arkansas, Arizona, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, New Mexico, South Dakota, Wisconsin, West Virginia and Wyoming.

Since it was initially accredited as a four-year university in 2000, RSU has been the fastest-growing college or university in Oklahoma with more than 3,700 students enrolled on campuses in Claremore, Bartlesville and Pryor, and through the RSU Online program. The university offers 14 bachelor's degrees and 20 associate's degrees in a wide variety of disciplines.