University begins renewal of accreditation process

Anderson Hall at sunset. (Archive photo by Benjamin Voller | Collegian Media Group)

Kansas State is beginning the reaccreditation process, as announced in K-State Today earlier this month. According to National University, accreditation is an essential factor when selecting a college or university.

The Council for Higher Education Accreditation states, “Accreditation is a review of the quality of higher education institutions and programs.” According to the CHEA, the federal government requires that students attend an accredited university to receive federal grants.

“The idea of this process is a peer review of what this campus offers,” Lesley Cottrell, professor in the Department of Pediatrics at the West Virginia University School of Medicine, said.

Cottrell, who visited K-State as part of the Higher Learning Commission, led an open forum to hear about students’ experiences at K-State directly from students.

“The goal of a forum is to enhance what we know about K-State, see rich examples and learn different perspectives from people who experience the university firsthand,” Cottrell said.

Jeff Ebeck, junior in finance and Student Government Association vice president, attended the open forum to answer questions from the HLC and listen to his peers.

“It is important to get as many students’ input as possible because the more input you have, the more viewpoints you have to make sure the university is getting accredited for the right reasons,” Ebeck said.

As SGA vice president, Ebeck said he understood many students have different opinions, and they deserve a chance to speak.

“It is always good to have as many voices as possible,” Ebeck said. “It makes it more diverse in a sense that you can hear my perspective compared to another student who might not be as involved.”

Ebeck said he was impressed by the amount of graduate and doctoral students who attended the forum.

“I think the really unique thing was that most of the time, you do not really hear about graduate and Ph.D. students,” Ebeck said. “It was an opportunity to get a holistic student input.”

Bently Taulbert, freshman in political science and pre-law, also attended the forum. Taulbert said he understood how important accreditation is for the university and its students.

“From what I understood … for institutions that are accredited with the Higher Learning Commission within ten years, they have to have it renewed,” Taulbert said. “So, it is a process that happens every once in a while, but when it happens, it is a huge deal.”

Ebeck said his biggest takeaway from the process was that the Higher Learning Commission considered student voices.

“Obviously, they are accrediting the university,” Ebeck said. “The most central part or spine of the university is the students, and I think the number one opinion they listen to is the students.”

More information about K-State’s accreditation and the re-accreditation process is available through the K-State accreditation web page.