Evidence for Accreditation
As part of the reauthorization process for accreditation, we have to address how we have met the five different criteria and provide evidence. HLC recommends providing anywhere from 3-5 years of evidence. It can be difficult to understand what classifies as evidence, so HLC has provided its institutions with descriptions of what evidence should do and some examples for each of the criteria. HLC has indicated that the evidence needs to:
- support the facts and arguments provided in the institutional narrative
- address the concerns and suggestions of the peer review team
- clarify any details specific to the institution
- enhance the institution’s overall record of conformity with the expectations of HLC
- demonstrate the institution’s academic quality and financial sustainability and integrity
HLC has also shared that institutions can determine if evidence is compelling based on Black’s Law, which includes three categories:
- Clear evidence is “precise, explicit and tends to directly establish the point it is presented to support. Institutions should provide clear evidence of their compliance with each Core Component.” For example, meeting minutes from a board meeting to show that the decision to hire a president was an agreed-upon decision; the minutes would show a motion and a vote.
- Corroborating evidence is “supplementary to evidence already given and tends to strengthen or confirm it. This type of evidence can be useful in illustrating points made in the institution’s narrative, but it may not be persuasive to peer reviewers on its own.” For example, providing a copy of the offer letter to the president by the board for the hiring of a president.
- Circumstantial evidence “establishes a condition of surrounding circumstances, from which the principal fact may be inferred. This type of evidence is never sufficient on its own.” For example, a copy of a letter from the president to the chair of the board accepting the appointment.
POSSIBLE SOURCES OF EVIDENCE – HLC
Because we need to provide a minimum of three years of evidence for our reaffirmation of accreditation, we want to be proactive in collecting that evidence. As part of the annual evaluation process, we encourage department directors and deans to identify accomplishments for the year and upload evidence based on the five HLC criteria. We have developed an eform where individuals can upload their evidence: