SIU Carbondale

February 07, 2020

Open forums set for SIU Carbondale’s reaccreditation

by Pete Rosenbery

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Open forums are scheduled this month as Southern Illinois University Carbondale seeks reaffirmation of accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

HLC accreditation covers all areas of the university, including the SIU School of Medicine. One of six regional accreditation bodies in the United States, the HLC accredits degree-granting post-secondary educational institutions in a 19-state region that includes Illinois.

The university’s most recent accreditation was in 2009-2010. The HLC and its forerunner - the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools - have continuously accredited SIU since 1913.

Open forums are part of HLC on-site visit

HLC reviewers will be on campus and the SIU School of Medicine in Springfield, Feb. 16-18. Three open forums covering several areas are set for Feb. 17 in Morris Library’s John C. Guyon Auditorium. The forums are open to the campus and community and there will be opportunity for audience questions, said Lizette Chevalier, associate provost for academic programs and the university’s HLC liaison.

The open forums will provide an opportunity for candid evaluation of the degree to which the university meets five criteria, Chevalier said.

  • Mission.
  • Integrity (Ethical and Responsible Conduct).
  • Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support.
  • Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement.
  • Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

 The Feb. 17 forum schedule, with accreditation criterion topics, are:

  • 1:30 to 2:25 p.m. – Mission, and Integrity (Ethical and Responsible Conduct).
  • 2:30 to 3:25 p.m. – Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources and Support; Evaluation and Improvement.
  • 3:30 to 4:25 p.m. – Resources, Planning and Institutional Effectiveness.

Assurance argument submitted in January

SIU Carbondale’s “assurance argument” (self study) is an introspective account of the university and was submitted to HLC on Jan. 20. The seven-member HLC peer review team’s primary goal is to validate the evidence in the university’s assurance argument and to determine if SIU has met the criteria, Chevalier said.

More than 100 people from across the campus and the community have been involved in preparing the report, she said.

Chevalier noted that institutions of higher education such as SIU are complex systems with many areas, including: academic affairs, student affairs, research, administration and finance, information systems, intercollegiate athletics, communication and marketing, alumni relations, and community engagement.

Accreditation vital for SIU Carbondale

HLC accreditation authorizes the university to receive federal funding, more than $100 million annually, primarily through the Higher Education Opportunity Act’s reauthorizations, Chevalier said.

Pell Grants and Stafford Loans, however, are not the only federal sources that regional accrediting bodies like the HLC make possible. Research grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. Department of Energy, for example, are joined by support for programs like Head Start, ROTC, and AmeriCorps. With HLC accreditation, SIU is eligible for these and many other federal programs.

After leaving campus, the accreditation team will finalize their findings and submit a draft report, which will be followed by a final report and final HLC action.

“In the end, the review will provide our campus with critical feedback that will guide us in our efforts to stay true to our mission,” Chevalier said.

More information on the university’s accreditation process and related material is at, by phone at 618/453-7653 or email at

University staff are not required to use personal time to attend any of the forums but must have supervisor approval.