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NEWS

April 28, 2005

A Rarity in Higher Education

RSU Receives Continued Accreditation Without Further Requirements for 10 Years

The major regional accrediting agency for colleges and universities in a 19-state area has extended accreditation for Rogers State University without any further required evaluation for 10 years a rarity in higher education in Oklahoma and a major accomplishment achieved by few universities, according to RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley.

The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools recently approved the accreditation of RSU as a baccalaureate degree granting institution through 2015 with no requirements for follow-up reports to the agency.

"To re-accredit an institution without requiring any follow-up reports or agency visits to the campus for the next decade is a significant achievement for any college or university," Wiley said. "We consider this the equivalent of the university receiving an A+ in terms of overall excellence in education."

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. and accredits most area institutions, including the University of Oklahoma and the University of Tulsa.

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 last fall.

An evaluation team from NCA conducted a "site visit" at RSU in November, meeting with faculty, staff and students 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 for the next decade with no follow-up review and submitted its report to the full commission of the NCA, which recently gave its approval.  

"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," Wiley said.

NCA also removed a prior stipulation that required RSU to obtain its approval to offer additional bachelor's degrees. The removal of the requirement will 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.

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

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 for 14 semesters in a row, 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.