Concerned faculty prepare for 10-year evaluation
Beginning today, officials of the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities will be guests of UNLV as they spend three days assessing the value and quality of this institution.
The evaluators will hold an open forum for students today at 10:30 a.m. in Student Union Room 211, where all students are invited to express their ideas about the quality of UNLV and its effectiveness in meeting its goals.
The process will culminate in a set of accreditations — for each qualified program and for the university as a whole.
The NWCCU, the organization that grades most of Nevada’s institutions, defines accreditation as “a process of recognizing educational institutions for performance, integrity and quality that entitles them to the confidence of the educational community and the public.”
The NWCCU evaluates universities once every 10 years.
UNLV officials have been working for two years to prepare for the review, gathering information and working to make programs as effective as possible.
As a guide, campus leaders have completed an institutional self-study, which covers the nine evalutaors will look at in their campus visit: Institutional Mission and Goals, Planning and Effectiveness; Educational Programs; Students; Faculty; Library and Information Resources; Government and Administration; Finances; Physical Resources; and Institutional Integrity.
In his introduction to the self-study report, UNLV President Neal Smatresk addressed the importance of accreditation review to the continued growth of this institution.
“The self-studies and assessment opportunities that all of our departments and programs have undertaken have given us a reflective moment to evaluate the past  years and to identify those things that we do well as a campus and those where our current policies, practices, and guidelines gave us the opportunity to more acutely focus our efforts on oour mission to serve, to educate, to create and to discover,” Smatresk wrote.
In January, UNLV alumni were asked to take an electronic survey that assessed how their education prepared them for work or grad school, post-graduation, which helped UNLV address specific concerns regarding school standards.
UNLV officials have expressed little concern that accreditation of the whole university is at risk, but the threat of failing to receive or retain accreditation is present among some programs.
Since accreditation depends on a complex set of factors including the number of faculty and class statistics, cuts to the UNLV budget have raised wonder as to whether some programs are closer to the endge than others.
As a result of the accreditation review, programs may be warned that certain improvements are necessary to meet NWCCU standards and required to show growth within a specified timeframe. Losing existing accreditionation is a less likely event.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: See the complete self-evaluation UNLV has prepared for the NCCU evaluation committee: oit.unlv.edu/nccu/