Southern Reaccredidation

Students assemble in Plaster Halls Cornell Auditorium for the Higher Learning Commission student session on April 1.

Zack Hinkle

Students assemble in Plaster Hall’s Cornell Auditorium for the Higher Learning Commission student session on April 1.

Amye Buckley

The March 31 through April 2 Higher Learning Commission visit to Missouri Southern resulted in a successful reaccredidation for the University.

“I think that it went quite well,” said Dr. Betsy Griffin, assistant vice president for academic affairs. “They recommended us for accreditation for 10 years, which is the maximum they can do and they said that we met all of the criteria.”

The team had positive feedback on the First-Year Experience program, a special focus chosen by Southern.

Griffin said they also made positive comments Southern’s campus-wide recognition of the international mission component of the University mission.

The new Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Messick, said he was also very pleased with the outcome.

“We do have some follow-up work to do, that was not unexpected,” he said. “So it will keep us on task and focused and we’ll get those things taken care of.”

The commission will issue a draft report in another month, but some of the expected recommendations include development in Southern’s governance procedures, graduate programs and, a newly formed committee on campus, strategic planning.

Committee members commended the library facilities and Southern’s distance learning program.

“They call these reaffirmation visits,” Griffin said. “I think it reaffirmed the kinds of things that we knew.

“Certainly the impression they left is that we were on the right track on the kinds of changes that we’re making as a campus.”

Griffin co-chaired the committee in preparation for the HLC visit this year and in 1998. After the semester is over she will move to North Carolina to work with the Policy Center on the First Year of College.

“I’ll be continuing the kind of work that we’re doing here, but with other campuses,” Griffin said.

Following the departure of Dr. Richard McCallum, Messick assumed the role of vice president for academic affairs. He hopes to maintain his open-door policy and plans no dramatic changes as he transitions into his new role.

“If there are changes they’ll be put through very systematically,” Messick said.

He says his predecessor worked with him to ensure a smooth change and has set him up for success.

He also credits the involvement on the project seen across campus.

“I think that we owe a huge thanks to Dr. Griffin, Dr. [Jack] Oakes, Dr. McCallum, who was sort of the umbrella for a lot of this, and every faculty member and professional staff member,” Messick said. “It was a huge commitment from our campus and they did just an exceptional job.”