Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Feb. 7, 1997

Work has begun on suggestions in NCA report

by Linda Charles
The North Central Commission (NCA) accreditation team, which visited campus last spring, cited the university for strong strategic planning efforts, "well-prepared and dedicated" faculty, technological foresight and a number of other accomplishments.

The team's visit resulted in Iowa State's reaccreditation for the next 10 years. The next accreditation evaluation is in 2005-06.

The accreditation team praised the university community for its knowledge and acceptance of the university's mission.

The 12 team members called ISU's faculty "well prepared and dedicated to the institution," and said the university "takes seriously the welfare of all its employees." They specifically cited university efforts in helping make faculty salaries competitive.

The university also received strong marks for the strategic plan and continued planning efforts; foresight in acquiring resources to support computer capabilities; improved library facilities, services and electronic access to information; physical plant and grounds; cooperation among academic units; and the university's program review process.

The team called creation of the Faculty Senate "an important milestone in the life of the university" and lauded the Honors Program because it "attracts talented students who enliven the intellectual life of the campus."

Team members also noted the State Board of Regents' "strong interest in and support for higher education" and the availability and increased use of the Iowa Communications Network.

The NCA team cited extension's presence in each county and said "examples of benefits to the people of Iowa abound." In one of its recommendations, the team called for careful review of the organization and effectiveness of the Cooperative Extension Program.

The NCA team also recommended the university better coordinate planning, budgeting and priority setting; actively involve faculty in establishing planning and budgetary priorities; and reduce the amount of deferred maintenance in the university budget. The team cited concern about the trend of targeting most new funds for specific purposes, creating "stresses in operating budgets."

While praising university efforts for student outcomes assessment, the NCA team expressed concern about the future leadership of outcomes assessment because the program has not been fully implemented in all departments.

The university is addressing areas of concern raised in the NCA report, said assistant provost Faye Whitaker.

The review results in accreditation of the institution, rather than programs, and involves all academic areas as well as student affairs, business and finance and external relations.

The NCA reviewers' report is available from the Faculty Senate and P&S Council and is in the Parks Library reserve room.

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