SGA analyzes ongoing reaccreditation process

written by: joseph cotton, campus news editor
Newswire photo by Eric Maahs
SGA Senators Daniel Joyce and Fernando Arguello work on Fenwick’s upper yard and mull through the university’s re-accreditation document.

The university is currently making the case that it is sticking with its mission to the Higher Learning Commission (HLC). 

The process of re-accreditation happens every ten years, and is a 35,000 page report that will be sent to the HLC. A draft is currently available to the public on the Xavier website. 

The re-accreditation process is overseen by the steering committee that consists of Director of Accreditation Rachel Chrastil, Classics Chair Shannon Bryne, as well as Vice President of Mission and Identity Debra Mooney. 

According to Chrastil, the HLC is looking to certify that Xavier has a strong institutional plan and the resources necessary to implement it. 

She also noted that the process is individualized to a school depending on the context the institution is operating within. 

“It’s not just a checklist. We have to make our case, because every university is different,” Chrastil said. “We have to show that, within our context, we have a strong mission and operate ethically.” 

On Apr. 27, Student Government Association Sen. Daniel Joyce formed an ad-hoc committee that is currently reviewing the re-accreditation argument document. 

The ad-hoc committee currently consists of Joyce and Sen. Fernando Arguello. 

The senators mentioned that they want to ensure that student voices are being considered in the review process. 

“Our goal is to see if, as students, we feel as if there is anything that they are missing,” Arguello said. “This is a process that happens every ten years. Since it doesn’t happen often, it’s important that all voices are taken into account.”

“There could be a big disconnect between what the administration sees and what the students see,” continued Joyce. “We want to make sure that gap is sealed.”

Alongside the re-accreditation document, the steering committee is issuing a student opinion survey in November which aims to give students a direct voice to the HLC. 

The third part of the re-accreditation process involves an on-site visit which will take place in April 2021. The visiting committee will consist of academic professionals from outside the Xavier community who are trained by the HLC to evaluate institutions of higher learning. 

Chrastil noted, however, that the visit may take place in a virtual format due to COVID-19 safety restrictions. 

She also went on to say that it is very likely that the visiting committee will hold a forum to field student comments.

The final part of the re-accreditation process is a federal compliance review which ensures that Xavier is in accordance with federal regulations surrounding higher learning institutions. These regulations include Title IX compliance and credit hour transfer policies, among others. 

The federal student aid the university receives is contingent upon compliance with these regulations.