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Policy on Programmatic Accreditation

Policy
Purpose: 

To provide information on maintaining, reporting, and seeking programmatic accreditation.

Applies to: 

All University employees.

Campus: 
Edwards
Lawrence
Juniper Gardens
Parsons
Yoder
Topeka
Medical Center, Kansas City
Salina
Wichita
Policy Statement: 
The University of Kansas holds accreditations from more than 30 different agencies for various programs and units. Programmatic accreditation provides verification that a program or unit within the University meets specific professional or disciplinary standards of quality.  
 
The University is required to seek permission from the Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) to pursue first-time programmatic accreditation and is obligated to report to KBOR, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), and select federal agencies any changes in accreditation status. Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Education and HLC require the University to describe itself with regard to purpose, governance, programs, locations, degrees, diplomas, certificates, personnel, finances, and constituents in an identical manner to any institutional accrediting agency with which it holds or seeks affiliation.
 
Programs and Units Seeking First-time Accreditation 
Approval from KBOR is required when any state university seeks an accreditation it does not hold. When a program or unit is nonaccredited, KBOR approval must be obtained and granted prior to the program or unit beginning the accreditation process. The following offices are responsible for the reporting units that are seeking accreditation for their respective campus, and will submit a proposal to KBOR that must include information on the accrediting agency and a table of costs associated with accreditation: 
  • Office of the Provost for KU Lawrence and all reporting units (hereafter KU-L); or 
  • Office of Academic & Student Affairs for the University of Kansas Medical Center (hereafter KUMC).
Upon approval by KBOR, the program or unit may begin the accreditation process as outlined in the next section. When the accrediting agency decides on the status of a new program or unit seeking accreditation, KBOR must be informed. Program or unit personnel must notify the appropriate office regarding the decision of the accrediting agency. The respective office will then notify both KBOR’s Vice President for Academic Affairs and KU’s accreditation liaison officer to HLC regarding the decision: 
  • KU-L – Office of the Provost; or 
  • KUMC – Office of Academic & Student Affairs.
Preparing Documentation for Accreditors 
KU-L
At KU-L, each dean is responsible for ensuring programs and units within the dean’s school/college meet the professional or disciplinary standards of the programmatic accreditor. Vice Provosts with accredited programs or units – or those seeking accreditation – are responsible for ensuring the professional or disciplinary standards of the programmatic accreditor are met.
 
Individuals at KU-L designated by their dean or vice provost to prepare self‐study reports and supporting documentation must work closely with the Office of the Provost during the drafting of the reports and documentation. Self‐study reports and supporting documentation requiring institutional-level data (e.g., number of majors, number of faculty, number of degrees awarded, school or unit finances, number of sabbaticals awarded, research dollars awarded, and program locations), must use data that is provided and validated by the Office of Analytics, Institutional Research & Effectiveness, the Office of Finance, the Center for Faculty Development and Mentoring, Human Resource Management, the Office of Research, or the Assessment & Program Development unit, as appropriate. 
 
A substantive draft of the self‐study must be submitted to the Provost for review at least 21 calendar days prior to the deadline for submission to the accrediting agency. The final self‐study report must be approved by the Provost before it is submitted to the accrediting body. Some self‐study reports or other documents for programmatic accreditation require the Chancellor's signature. In such cases, the self‐study reports and associated documents must be reviewed and approved by the Provost prior to submission to the Chancellor for signature.  
 
KUMC
Individuals with accreditation reporting responsibilities at KUMC must notify the Office of Academic & Student Affairs of upcoming accreditation review and site visits a year in advance. The self-study report must be approved by the program director, chair, dean, vice chancellor, executive vice chancellor, and/or the Chancellor as appropriate for the program. Upon submission to the accrediting agency, a copy of the final self-study will be sent to the Office of Academic & Student Affairs for record storage. 
 
Change in Accreditation Status 
When the accreditation status of a program or the institution is not renewed, or if there are adverse changes or findings (e.g., denial, suspension, revocation, termination, voluntary withdrawal or involuntary withdrawal of accreditation, the program or unit is placed on probation or equivalent status, or has other adverse findings) the program or unit personnel must immediately notify the appropriate office about the decision of the accrediting agency. The following offices are charged with communicating this change in status:
  • KU-L - Office of the Provost; or 
  • KUMC - Office of Academic & Student Affairs. 
As required by federal law, the University must disclose to all current and prospective students in the program or unit decisions by any accrediting agency to place the program or unit on probation or the equivalent status within seven (7) business days. 
 
The appropriate office must communicate adverse decisions to KBOR and to the institution’s accreditation liaison officer to the HLC within three (3) business days of the University receiving the notice. 
 
Reporting on Accreditation to HLC
The accreditation liaison officer must communicate adverse decisions to HLC within seven (7) business days of the University receiving the notice. 
 
Reporting on Accreditation to KBOR
The appropriate office must submit a report on the accreditation status of the University’s institutional accreditation and accredited programs to KBOR as outlined in the KBOR policy manual. The following offices are charged with submission of the report: 
  • •KU-L – Office of the Provost; or
  • •KUMC – Office of Academic & Student Affairs.
Reporting on Accreditation to Public
HLC requires the University to portray clearly and accurately to the public its current status with the HLC and with specialized, national, and professional accreditation agencies. A list of all KU and KUMC’s accredited programs and units is available to fulfill the requirements of HLC.
 
Maintaining Official Files for Accreditation 
The Office of the Provost for KU-L and the Office of Academic Students & Affairs for KUMC maintains files of official documents and reports related to institutional and programmatic accreditation.
 
KU-L – Summary Documentation to be submitted to the Office of the Provost for Accredited Programs & Institutional Accreditation:
Copies of accreditation documents issued by the University and any of its programs or academic units, as well as those received from accrediting agencies (e.g., self‐study reports, interim or annual reports, peer‐review team reports, notification of accreditation status related correspondence) must be submitted to the Office of the Provost (KU-L).
 
KUMC - Summary Documentation to be submitted to the Office of Academic & Student Affairs for Accredited Programs:
  • Self-study; 
  • Official notification of accreditation decision, including any areas of concern; and 
  • Complete records and follow-up for programs on suspension or probation.
Contact: 

Lawrence Campus and Reporting Units/Campuses:
Office of the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor
Strong Hall, 1450 Jayhawk Boulevard, Room 250
Lawrence, KS 66045
785-864-4904
provost@ku.edu

KU Medical Center:
Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic & Student Affairs 
3901 Rainbow Blvd., 5016 Wescoe Pavilion
Kansas City, KS 66160
913-588-0146

Approved by: 
Chancellor
Approved on: 
Friday, July 2, 2021
Effective on: 
Friday, July 2, 2021
Review Cycle: 
Annual (As Needed)
Definitions: 

Accreditation Liaison Officer is an individual housed within the Office of the Provost on the Lawrence campus and is tasked with notifying HLC about changes with accreditation matters for the University.

The Higher Learning Commission (HLC) is an institutional accreditation agency that accredits degree-granting colleges and universities that are based in a 19-state region of the United States, including Kansas, as well as select institutions based outside the region. 

Kansas Board of Regents (KBOR) is the governing board of the six state universities in Kansas and the statewide coordinating board for the state’s 32 public higher education institutions (six state universities, one municipal university, nineteen community colleges, and six technical colleges). Regents are appointed by the Governor of Kansas and confirmed by the Senate. 

Programmatic accreditors (also known as specialized or professional accreditors) are bodies that apply specific standards for curriculum and course content to meet professional and/or licensure requirements.

Keywords: 
specialized accreditation, programmatic accreditation, program accreditation, professional accreditation, national accreditation, accreditation, accrediting agency, self-study, Higher Learning Commission, HLC, accreditation liaison officer, Kansas Board of Regents, KBOR
Change History: 

07/02/2021: New policy published in the Policy Library.

Academic Categories: 
Academic Programs

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