Accreditation is a designation and a process. As a designation, it serves as public recognition that an institution has met accepted standards of quality. As a process, it demonstrates an ongoing commitment to self-study and external peer review. These complementary assessments affirm that quality standards are being met and that the excellence of an Ohio State education is continually enhanced.
The Ohio State University has been accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) since 1913. In 2017 the university underwent its decennial reaffirmation of accreditation.
Ohio State’s review is carried out through the HLC Open Pathway process. This process includes writing an Assurance Argument, proposing and implementing a Quality Initiative, and hosting a site visit by a team of reviewers made up of faculty and staff from other universities with similar missions. The process also includes preparing a Multi-Campus Report for a sample of Ohio State’s regional campuses, along with visits to the selected campuses as part of the comprehensive evaluation.
As required by the HLC, Ohio State created an evidence-based Assurance Argument to demonstrate that it meets the five criteria for accreditation shown below. In it, Ohio State documents how it fulfills each Criterion. The full Assurance Argument is available here. The Assurance Argument was overseen by the Institutional Re-accreditation Coordinating Committee that includes faculty, students, and staff from across the university.
- Criterion One. Mission
The institution’s mission is clear and articulated publicly; it guides the institution’s operations.
- Criterion Two. Integrity: Ethical and Responsible Conduct
The institution acts with integrity; its conduct is ethical and responsible.
- Criterion Three. Teaching and Learning: Quality, Resources, and Support
The institution provides high quality education, wherever and however its offerings are delivered.
- Criterion Four. Teaching and Learning: Evaluation and Improvement
The institution demonstrates responsibility for the quality of its educational programs, learning environments, and support services, and it evaluates their effectiveness for student learning through processes designed to promote continuous improvement.
- Criterion Five. Resources, Planning, and Institutional Effectiveness
The institution’s resources, structures, and processes are sufficient to fulfill its mission, improve the quality of its educational offerings, and respond to future challenges and opportunities. The institution plans for the future.
As part of the Open Pathway model the university also developed a Quality Initiative that addresses an academic issue of institutional importance. Implementation of Ohio State's initiative, Enhancing Academic Advising, began in 2014 and will continue over the next few years. The final report on the Quality Initiative was accepted by the HLC in November 2016. The final report is available here.
A team of reviewers visited Ohio State on March 20-21, 2017. Beforehand, the team received the Assurance Argument and comments from the public. During the visit the review team met with faculty, staff and students and look for evidence that Ohio State meets the five criteria of the Assurance Argument. The schedule of the visit is available here.
The reviewers visited Ohio State’s Lima, Mansfield, and Newark campuses on March 23-24, 2017. Before the visit they received the Multi-Campus Report, which includes data about each campus and explains its operations. The review team met with academic leaders, and some faculty and students during the visit. The reviewers looked for evidence to assure the quality of Ohio State’s extended operations and the institution’s capacity to maintain that quality. The Multi-Campus Report is available here.
The coordinating committee for the 2017 reaffirmation of accreditation consisted of the following members.
- Sam M. Abusway, Undergraduate Student Government
- Erica Brownstein, assistant dean, Office of Educator Preparation, College of Education and Human Ecology
- Sharon L. Davies, vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer
- Kristine G. Devine, vice president for operations and deputy chief financial officer
- Gates Garrity-Rokous, vice president and chief compliance officer
- Rebecca C. Harvey, professor of art
- Eugene A. Holowacz, Council of Graduate Students
- Alan Kalish, director, University Center for the Advancement of Teaching
- Jack D. Miner, university registrar and executive director of enrollment services
- John D. Wanzer, assistant vice provost and assistant dean for undergraduate education
- Thomas H. Wells, professor of music