Reactions to NCA report


Jason Howell

Professor Peter Wiles begins teaching his "Teaching Mathematics 6-9" class on Tuesday in Old Main.

Luis Martinez, Administration Editor

Late last week, Eastern received its accreditation report from the North Central Association.

The NCA report gave Eastern favorable reviews within its five criterion, but the report did mention some concerns found when the evaluation team came to visit.

Some of the issues brought up in the report included changing leadership of the school by the end of this academic year, Eastern’s late entry into adding online course, the decline state funds, as well as Eastern’s sustained small class sizes.

President Perry will be vacating his position at the end of this academic year. As such, Blair Lord, the vice president of academic affairs, explained what would happened with Eastern after Perry’s departure.

“So far as a change in presidential leadership goes, this is naturally stressful, but hardly out of the ordinary.” Lord said. “I am confident we will make this transition well.”

Lord also said the school may not lead the charge in online, there are still several degree programs being moved to online to stay competitive, in regards to Eastern’s late entry adding online course.

“We will have to choose wisely, but we are looking at this very carefully and doing the analyses of demand as an integral part of this process,” Lord said.

Lord said Robert Augustine, the dean of the graduate school, convenes with an ad hoc online board. The purpose of the board is to look at each of the initiatives carefully.

“I am confident that with astute strategic choices we can be successful and grow our online presence.” Lord said.

Eastern’s enrollment has had its trouble over the past few years, with the current student population decreasing each year. What the evaluation team found concerning sprouted from the possibility of Eastern’s low enrollment troubles continuing, and how the school might maintain its low class sizes.

Lord said despite these worries, Eastern will still continue to showcase personal attention within each of its classes.

“Concerning class size, Eastern has been known for personal attention and small classes even when our enrollment was well above where we are currently.” Lord said. “Our student to faculty ratio is at its lowest in my years as provost.”

Lord said while Eastern will still try to support a personal atmosphere in the classrooms, but these low class sizes are problematic.

“We cannot continue to have a student to faculty ratio at its current historic low.” Lord said.

The decline of state funds is a different issue for Eastern to conquer.

The school itself has no direct control of the level of state funding provided to university.

“We basically must manage to what the state provides, and we will do so.” Lord said.

Eastern will not be up for another accreditation review until the 2024-2025 academic year, which is meant to provide Eastern with ample amount of time to address each of the concerns in hopes of receiving another favorable review from the NCA.

Luis Martinez is the Administration Editor and can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].