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St. Catherine University completes successful reaccreditation process

Feather boas were part of a campus celebration honoring the HLC writing team (l to r): Brian Fogarty, Jennie Robinson Kloos, Alan Silva, Lynda Syzmanski, Deb Sellheim.
Feather boas were part of a campus celebration honoring the HLC writing team (l to r): Brian Fogarty, Jennie Robinson Kloos, Alan Silva, Lynda Syzmanski, Deb Sellheim.
Photo by Rebecca Zenefski '10.

St. Catherine University President Andrea J. Lee, IHM announced Tuesday that the she received formal notification from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that the University’s accreditation status has been continued.

No interim reports or monitoring are required as part of the action.

The reaccreditation process culminated with a site visit from an HLC team in February 2013.  Comprised of administrators and leaders from peer institutions, the group spent three days on campus meeting with faculty, staff and students to determine whether the University’s self-study met HLC criteria.

In its report to HLC, the team noted the ways in which the St. Kate’s mission informs and inspires the campus community. “ The University is a good example of how mission and values can lead to rather remarkable and innovative ideas while remaining true to the mission of the institution,” the report said.

“My highest praise and gratitude to our entire community for creating the ‘raw material’ that made this stellar review possible,” said Sister Andrea in her announcement.  “Everyone’s cooperation, hard work and attention to the ‘core reason for our being’ contributed to what amounts to a ‘clean audit of the highest order.’”

Reaccreditation process commenced in 2010

Sister Andrea commissioned an HLC Steering Committee comprised of faculty and staff in fall 2010 to prepare for the winter 2013 site visit and create the 290-page self-study report and supporting web documents in advance of it.

Under the direction of Senior Vice President Colleen Hegranes, the steering committee was chaired by Alan Silva, assistant vice president and dean of the School of Humanities, Arts, and Sciences (SHAS) and College for Women. Jennie Robinson Kloos, director of Institutional Research, Planning and Assessment, was the HLC Steering Committee operations coordinator, and Barbara Gritzmacher coordinated all the details for the HLC’s site team visit in February.

The theme chosen for the University’s self-study was “From College to University: Eight Directions to Five Destinations in Ten Years.” It referred to the University’s “Vision 2020” Strategic Plan and that plan’s eight strategic directions and five destination metrics that were adopted following the institution’s name change from college to university in 2009.

Lead writers of the self-study were Lynda Szymanski, associate dean of SHAS and Brian Fogarty, professor of sociology, who along with Silva, Robinson Kloos and Debra Sellheim, professor of physical therapy, comprised the HLC writing team.

Members of the steering committee who gathered research, created and executed communication plans to inform and prepare the campus community, and assisted with site visit preparation included:

  • Paul Buttenhoff, associate professor, liberal arts and sciences        
  • Curt Galloway, dean of student affairs        
  • Tracey Gran, controller                 
  • Deborah Grealey, associate dean and program director, master of library and information science
  • Julie Michener, media & public relations manager
  • Amata Miller, professor of economics and director of the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity
  • Former staff members Tone Blechert (associate dean of health professions and two-year programs) and Carol Johnson (director of libraries)
  • Other staff members who made significant contributions to the self-study and associated web components were: Derik Casper, web communications manager; Brian Dusbiber, assessment analyst; Nanette Echols, Kateway coordinator; Carol Evans-Smith, art director; Scott Pakudaitis, research administrator; and Ellen Richter-Norgel, associate dean for students and retention.

    St. Kate’s student-worker Chee Vang '15 also provided valuable assistance to both staff and HLC committee members. 

    July 19, 2013 by Julie Michener

    See also: Education, Faculty, Leadership, Liberal Arts, Students