Institutional Accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission

The University of Iowa is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).  HLC’s Open Pathway model for accreditation, newly implemented in 2013, consists of four components:

1. Annual Institutional Update

Each year, the Commission requires each member institution to provide an update on organizational health through the Institutional Update.  The Institutional Update is completed by Deb Tiemens, Office of the Provost, and the Office of the Vice President for Finance and Operations.

2. Federal Compliance Review

As a federally recognized accrediting agency, HLC is required to assure that member institutions are meeting their Title IV program responsibilities as well as complying with specific regulations accreditors must enforce as a part of their recognition by the U.S. Department of Education.   The Federal Compliance Review is completed by Lon Moeller, Associate Provost for Undergraduate Education, and the Office of Student Financial Aid.

3.     Assurance Review, consisting of on an Assurance Argument and an Evidence File of supporting documents:

The Assurance Argument articulates how Accreditation Criteria are met.  The argument is limited to 35,000 words, and is supported by links to documents in the Evidence File. 

The Evidence File is designed to store pdf copies of all documents referenced in the Assurance Argument.  Both the Assurance Argument and the Evidence File are completed online in the HLC Assurance System.

The Assurance Argument is reviewed twice in the 10-year Open Pathway cycle.  An online review is conducted at Year 4 and a comprehensive review is conducted at Year 10 in conjunction with a site visit by reviewers.

The Assurance System Coordinator is Wayne Jacobson, Office of the Provost.  Tanya Uden-Holman and Kris Yows, Office of the Provost, also serve as administrators of the Assurance System.  Up to 12 additional faculty and staff can be given access to the Assurance System in order to help prepare the Assurance Argument and add documents to the Evidence File.

4.     Quality Initiative

The Open Pathway requires the institution to undertake a Quality Initiative which is designed to suit its present concerns or aspirations.  The Quality Initiative is expected to take place between years 5 and 9 of the 10-year Open Pathway Cycle.  After proposing the initiative and receiving HLC approval, the institution has three years to implement, assess, and report on outcomes of the initiative.

For the University of Iowa, 2013/14 is Year 5 of the 10-Year Open Pathway cycle, the first year of a five-year window to carry out our three-year Quality Initiative.  Our next comprehensive review and site visit will take place in 2018/19.

The associate provost for undergraduate education serves as accreditation liaison officer (ALO), the primary contact person for UI communication with the Higher Learning Commission.

  Year 5
Year 6
Year 7
Year 8
Year 9
Year 10
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Institutional Update

Submitted online annually

Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update Online Update
Federal Compliance Review

In conjunction with Year 10 Assurance Review and Site Visit

          Federal Compliance Review        
Assurance Review

Prepared online and reviewed in Years 4 & 10

Add documents to the Evidence File,
Prepare Assurance Argument
Assurance Review and Site Visit Add documents to the Evidence File,
Prepare Assurance Argument
Online Assurance Review
Quality Initiative

Proposed and carried out over three years between Years 5 & 9

Five-year window to propose, implement, and assess a three-year Quality Initiative