Higher Learning Commission scheduled to visit SDSU Monday, Tuesday


Trenton Abrego, Editor-in-Chief

Ten years ago, the Higher Learning Commission visited South Dakota State and awarded the institution accreditation, a status that the institution has held since 1916. 

Currently, South Dakota State is one of 19 institutions that is accredited by the HLC in the state, a status that the school hopes to keep. Without the accreditation status, financial aid funding wouldn’t be possible. 

There are five different criteria that the Higher Learning Commission will look at. Those range from the institution’s mission: ethical and responsible conduct, quality, resources and support, teaching evaluation and improvement, resources, planning and institutional effectiveness. 

Now, the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting body will be making their decennial visit to campus Nov. 4-5. 

During the two-day onsite visit, presidents, deans, professors and provosts from different institutions in the area will be on campus for an accreditation site visit. 

Site visit team

  • Dr. Daniel J. Howard, Chair

Regents Professor of Biology, Executive Vice President and Provost, New Mexico State University

  • Dr. Paulette Isaac-Savage, member

Associate Provost, Planning, Assessment and Accreditation, University of Missouri-Saint Louis

  • Dr. Paul J. Tikalsky, member

Dean, Oklahoma State University 


  • Dr. Jennifer Wies, member

Professor and Chair, Ball State University 

  • Dr. Claudia A. Petrescu, member

Dean, Graduate Education, Oakland University

  • Dr. Wayne Jacobson, member

Assessment Director, University of Iowa

  • Dr. Mark Balschweid, member 

Professor and Head – Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication, University of Nebraska-Lincoln

The purpose of the site team visit is “to validate what was reported in the Assurance Argument and Evidence Files,” according to a document obtained by The Collegian. 

The decision for reaccreditation will lie in the hands of the site visit team, who determines if the institution meets the criterion set forth by the Higher Learning Commission. 

There are three possible outcomes from the site visit. 

If the team finds the university in good standing, they will recommend continued accreditation with no follow-up activities (excluding the required activities). 

The site team can also continue accreditation with a required progress report. According to the obtained document, in the 2009-10 visit, South Dakota State University was “required to submit a progress report focused on diversity in 2013.” 

Another outcome that’s possible, but hasn’t happened for more than 100 years, is the institution being placed on either probation or notice – with “intensive monitoring.”