Eastern reaccredited by NCA

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

Late last week, Eastern received word from the North Central Association that the school has been reaffirmed for accreditation for a 10-year period.

A team of evaluators came to Eastern to properly evaluate the university in its mission, integrity, teaching and learning. To do this, the evaluation team looked at quality, resources, support, evaluation and improvement.

The evaluation team put together a report of their findings, which often-times complimented Eastern, noting how the school fully met each of the reports’ criteria.

According to the report, Eastern’s mission statement was found to be clear and well-articulated.

It was reported that of the 1,431 students completing the self-study survey, 77.4% indicated some or a lot of collaboration with faculty on research or creative activities conducted outside of class.

The report also said that 86 percent of students indicated that Eastern’s activities reflect the school’s commitment to diversity and two-thirds of the faculty reportedly mentors undergraduate research outside the classroom.

The evaluation team suggests Eastern develop a formal mission review cycle with input from the constituent groups on campus.

According to report, the school’s mission statement met the evaluation requirements, demonstrating its commitment to the welfare of the public.

“Without a doubt, the institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly in multiple places and guides its operations at every level of the institution,” the report said.

It reported individual faculty, staff, students, trustees, and administrators could not only articulate the mission, but were also able to give concrete, specific examples of how their particular areas made the mission come alive in their day-to-day actions.

The university was then evaluated based upon its integrity, defined by ethical and responsible conduct. One of the components the evaluation team looked at in its report was how Eastern presents itself to the students and the public with its programs, faculty and staff.

“Students appear to have an understanding of institutional processes and requirements as confirmed by institutional surveys and team conversation.” The report said. “Orientation programs are provided for new and transfer students by New Students Programs and include the typical orientation, advisement, and registration processes, as well as a transition program (Prowl) designed to provide a foundation for personal and academic success.”

Throughout the rest of the components, the evaluation team felt Eastern successfully met each of the requirements.

“EIU demonstrates a firm commitment to integrity and ethics in policies and actions.” The report said. “This commitment is widely supported by students, staff, and faculty by their understanding of institutional policies and sense of dedication to the institution.”

Criterion three of the report focused on the quality, resources, and support of teaching and learning. One of the components that the report looked at was how Eastern has both a faculty and staff involvement within high-quality programs and other student services.

“EIU has sufficient numbers of faculty members to carry out academic related activities, both inside and outside classrooms.” The report said.

The evaluation team did express one concern, in terms of smaller class sizes. To retain sustainability, Eastern will have to continue current creative efforts in order to maintain current class sizes.

Otherwise, the evaluation team reported Eastern successfully met all the components of criterion three.

“The University has effectively organized faculty support staff, and physical facilities and infrastructure to provide student-centered learning environments.” The report said. “The university employs high-quality faculty and well-trained staff members to deliver instruction and provide support services.”

Criterion four looked at Eastern’s evaluation and improvement of both teaching and learning. One of the components that the report looked at was how well the institution demonstrated responsibility for the quality of the programs it offers.

Furthermore, the evaluation team determined Eastern had met all requirements for criterion four. “Based on the evidence provided through the self-study, supporting documents, and the site visit, it is clear that the institution is committed to educational achievement and improvement.” The report said.

The final criterion was Eastern’s planning and institutional effectiveness through its resources. The evaluation team viewed Eastern’s governance and administrative structures and how they promote effective leadership.

“EIU has instituted regulation internal and other policies that are routinely implemented at the department, college, and university level,” the report said.

Other components the report examined included how the school engages in both systematic and integrated planning, how Eastern works to improve its performance, and the support of its current educational programs.

While Eastern met all components of criterion five, the evaluation team found some items that raised concern.

“Eastern Illinois University has carefully guarded and guided its resources to ensure that it has the necessary resources to fulfill its mission and systematically improve the quality of it educational offerings and its operational performance,” the report said. “The team expressed concern that a confluence of factors such as changing leadership as a new president comes on board in July 2015, late efforts to enter a very competitive online scene, declining state funding trends, and the multiplicity of planning groups could come together to derail EIU’s multi-faceted planning efforts.”

Eastern will not be up for another review until 2024-2025, the max period allowed between reaccreditation reviews.

“Eastern Illinois University has effectively dealt with significant challenges during the past ten years, not the least of which was a drop in enrollment and decline state support,” the report said. “Leaders at the institution recognize the challenges they face and have taken and intend to continue taking substantive action to address their situation.”


Luis Martinez can be reached at 582-2812 or [email protected].