Education

The New YSU! Higher Learning Commission Renews Accreditation

By Joseph Mosca, dean of the Bitonte College of Health and Human Services

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – The Higher Learning Commission is an organization that oversees the accreditation of degree-granting universities in midwestern and south-central states. Ohio is one of those states and Youngstown State University is one of those universities.

YSU has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission since 1945. This past March, the commission completed a site visit on campus for the purpose of evaluating the university and determining our reaccreditation status.

The outcome of that visit was very positive. YSU was reaccredited through the 2027-28 academic year when the next visit from the commission is scheduled to take place. This was another proud moment for our extraordinary institution.

Why is accreditation of an institution of higher learning like Youngstown State so important?

Being reviewed by an objective, external organization like the Higher Learning Commission offers assurances that we are delivering a high quality educational product to our students while meeting standards of excellence.

There are 21 core components and standards upon which the university is evaluated. These components measure:

  • How we adhere to our stated mission.
  • Our integrity as it relates to ethical and responsible conduct.
  • The quality of our teaching and learning and the commitment of resources to these two activities.
  • How we go about evaluating and continuously improving teaching and learning.
  • How effective we are as an institution in managing our resources and engaging in planning that sustains quality.

It is a very rigorous process that requires years of work by Youngstown State’s faculty and staff to produce the necessary documentation and evidence of compliance with the standards.

The Higher Learning Commission reviews all documentation and then visits our campus for two days during which constituency groups across campus are asked to participate.

So exactly how did YSU perform in this process?

The university was in compliance with 20 of the 21 core component areas. These areas were met without any concerns or any need for additional evidence.

This is a stellar performance, as a typical visit to an institution of higher learning would yield several criteria that were met, but with concerns.

There was only one area, program review, that was met with concerns requiring additional evidence to be provided to the commission by September 2021. And Youngstown State is well on its way to addressing this issue with a rigorous process of program review that will align well with our development of a new strategic plan.

The aforementioned accomplishment was not without a tremendous investment of time and talent by Youngstown State University’s faculty, staff and board of trustees. Kudos to all!

The work in preparing documentation and evidence for the commission’s site visit was monumental and was particularly focused over the last two years.

But the work never stops.

Everyday there is a commitment at the university to live up to the phrase so often stated by President Jim Tressel: “macte virtute” or “be increased in merit.”

At YSU, it means increase in excellence, and we will continue to do so for what we value so highly – our students and our community.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.