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Higher Learning Commission Open Pathway Cycle

The University of South Dakota is accredited through the Higher Learning Commission’s Open Pathway 10-Year Cycle, an ongoing process that consists of an Assurance Review, a Quality Initiative, and a Comprehensive Evaluation. This process is designed to help USD ensure it is meeting its mission, vision and values.

The next Comprehensive Evaluation, which will reaffirm our accreditation, is scheduled for 2020-21. For information related to USD’s current accreditation status, please refer to USD's Institutional Accreditation page.

What is Accreditation?

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Quality Initiative

As part of the 10 year cycle, Open Pathway institutions must complete a Quality Initiative. This process is designed to help institutions develop or continue a project to achieve a key milestone. The process can also be used to implement a specific project related to institutional improvement. The quality initiative occurs in years five through nine of the cycle and culminates in a report to the HLC. 

  • USD 2015-2020 Quality Initiative Proposal (link to .pdf)

 

Assurance Reviews and Comprehensive Evaluations

HLC conducts assurance reviews in year four of the cycle and comprehensive evaluations in year ten of the cycle in order to confirm that the institution meets the five criteria for accreditation:

1. Mission
2. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
3. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
4. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
5. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness

In each of these areas, the institution is expected to engage in a continuous process of evaluation and improvement. Since USD is part of the Open Pathway, the comprehensive evaluation also includes a Federal Compliance Review, which verifies that USD is meeting Federal guidelines, and is a good steward of the funds we receive from the Federal government.

Contact the USD Reaffirmation Team

USD is set for a Comprehensive Evaluation for Reaffirmation of Accreditation in 2020-2021. If you have any questions, you may contact the USD Reaffirmation team by emailing us at HLC@usd.edu .