Our "Self-Study Year" Is Under Way

Dear Members of the Albion College Community:

The 2009-10 academic year will be a defining year in Albion history. We will begin to implement “Albion 2015,” our strategic plan, and we will finalize our self-study for Albion’s reaffirmation of accreditation through the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. It will be a busy year, but I trust that it will also be a satisfying year.

We have now formally launched our “Self-Study Year” in preparation for a campus visit by the HLC accreditation team in November 2010. Those persons who will review Albion will be our peers—members of the faculty, administration, and staff of comparable or similar institutions outside of Michigan. In preparation for their visit and assessment, our self-study represents an opportunity for us to step back and to critically evaluate everything we do; through this process, we will identify ways we can strengthen our programs to ensure that they effectively prepare students for their future roles in society. Albion will emerge from the self-study process with a clearer vision, a stronger commitment to our values, and a renewed dedication to excellence.

As we conduct our work for the self-study, we will continually refer to the criteria of the Higher Learning Commission: to emphasize integrity; to clearly and compellingly articulate the mission; to make resource allocations looking to the future; to build and maintain a culture of assessment throughout the campus; to demonstrate teaching effectiveness and student achievement; to foster and support inquiry, creativity, and social responsibility; and, to serve internal and external constituencies in a fair, honest, and forthright manner.

The self-study will involve many of you in various ways throughout the coming months, and Provost Susan Conner and I want you to be aware of the goals and key steps in the process as we move forward. Albion is participating in the accreditation review through the HLC’s Program to Evaluate and Advance Quality (PEAQ). Paramount in this process is Albion’s commitment to our shared mission and the demonstration of how we are achieving that mission throughout our academic program and other operations. Much of the evaluation by the HLC team will focus on that commitment. Our mission statement, developed during the current strategic planning process, reads:

Albion College is an undergraduate, liberal arts institution committed to academic excellence. We are learning-centered and recognize that valuable learning takes place in and outside the classroom, on and off campus. We prepare students to translate critical thought into action.

It will be imperative that all members of our community know and understand the mission and use it as a touchstone in decision-making.

I would especially like to thank Provost Conner and the other members of the Steering Committee for their leadership of this self-study process on Albion’s behalf, and I ask you to give them your full support as we get under way. If you have questions or concerns about the process, please contact Provost Conner or Dr. David Seely (Physics), the Steering Committee’s faculty chair. We want to make this an open, inclusive, and collaborative process, and we welcome your involvement and insights.


Donna M. Randall