School prepares for upcoming focus visit

They came. They saw. They accredited.

Three years later, the Higher Learning Commission is coming to see Missouri Southern again.

In 2008, the HLC of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited Southern through 2018. Even though the school was accredited, the HLC found problems with its shared governance and strategic planning.

An HLC “focus visit” will take place on April 4 and 5. In preparation of the visit, the HLC requested a document detailing Southern’s progress in those two areas. Dr. Susan Craig, who wrote the report and helped compile the information, submitted the report a couple weeks ago. It is available at

“We just told the story of what the campus has done to address these two issues,” said Craig, director of First-Year Experience.

Craig began work on the report “about a year” ago. She said many people from different areas of the school were a part of creating the document.

The report is organized into three chapters. There was no template for the report, but Craig said she worked with a liaison at the HLC through the creation of the document.

“I was able to visit with some people who had gone through this experience [of a focus visit],” Craig said.

In the report, the first chapter has an overview of the University, including a brief history and a section detailing Southern’s international mission.

Chapters two and three, which analyze the past three years of strategic planning and shared governance, are arranged similarly to each other. Both chapters include a background, project goals, committee structure, timeline, strengths and weaknesses.

Though only 26 pages, there are links to 125 supplemental documents with information such as Southern’s organizational chart, letters from Faculty Senate President Cheryl Cifelli, administrative evaluations and committee meeting minutes.

At the end of the report, the document says a permanent administrative committee on shared governance will be formed. The committee will continue the work of the current shared governance task force, which last met on January 25.