Valpo’s institutional accreditation status now extends through 2027–2028, as the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) has notified the University of its reaffirmation of accreditation. The HLC oversees for degree-granting colleges and universities in 19 states, including Indiana.
The notification comes at the conclusion of the HLC’s decennial comprehensive review of the University. The University’s self-study, called the assurance argument, addressed five accreditation criteria set by the HLC: the institution’s mission, its ethical and responsible conduct, the quality of its teaching and learning, its attention to improvement of teaching and learning and its ability to plan and effectively use resources. Valparaiso University met, without qualification, the standards of all five criteria and of all 21 subcriteria set by the HLC.
The comprehensive review culminated in November 2017 when a four-member peer review team visited the campus for two days and met with Valpo students, faculty, staff and administrators; members of the University’s Board of Directors; and leaders in the city of Valparaiso.
During the review, Valpo shared information about its more than 70 academic majors across five colleges; 50 semester and yearlong Study Abroad programs; and student outcomes, including a graduate placement rate that was 96 percent for 2015–2016 graduates and has exceeded 90 percent for 24 consecutive years. The average class size at Valpo is 20 students, and its student-faculty ratio is 13:1. One hundred percent of Valpo classes are taught by professors.
Since the last accreditation review in 2007, Valpo has:
- Inaugurated Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., as the University’s 18th president in 2008 and welcomed Mark L. Biermann, Ph.D., as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs in 2014.
- Completed construction and renovation projects on more than 10 campus facilities, most recently dedicating the Center for the Sciences: Chemistry and Biochemistry and the Innovation Hub at McMillan Hall in fall 2017.
- Launched numerous academic programs across colleges, including bioengineering, business analytics, data science, health care leadership, physician assistant studies, public health, statistics and supply chain and logistics management. In response to growing needs in the health sciences, the College of Nursing expanded and became the College of Nursing and Health Professions.
- Developed the Institute for Leadership and Service, which is dedicated to preparing students shaped by a sense of calling, equipped for thoughtful reflection, engaged in the larger world and responsive to its deepest challenges.
- Won 11 regular-season championships and made 12 NCAA Tournament appearances across 21 Division I athletic programs. In 2017, Valpo Athletics became a full-fledged member of the Missouri Valley Conference, one of the oldest and most prestigious mid-major conferences in the nation.
- Hosted more than 100 arts performances and exhibits each year. Recently, the Chorale was invited to participate in the Reformation Day service at the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation.
- Concluded the “Our Valpo, Our Time” Campaign, which raised $238 million, in 2009, and launched Forever Valpo: The Campaign for Our Future, a $250 million endowment campaign, in 2016.
Several University departments and colleges, especially those that offer programs that prepare students for specific professional careers, maintain program-specific accreditation, but it is the HLC that oversees the institution’s overall accreditation, without which none of the program-specific accreditations would be possible.
Those additional accreditations are for the College of Business (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), College of Engineering (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology), College of Nursing and Health Professions (Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education for the baccalaureate degree program in nursing/master’s degree program in nursing/Doctor of Nursing Practice program and/or post-graduate APRN certificate program), Law School (American Bar Association), Department of Education (Council for the Accreditation of Education Preparation), Department of Music (National association of Schools of Music), Department of Social Work (Council on Social Work Education) and Clinical Mental Health Counseling (Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs).